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The Importance of Continuing Education for Providers and Patients

What’s the point of continuing medical education? Of course, you’re required to earn CME credits to maintain your state medical license. Your specialty may also mandate CME for continued membership. However, these are not the only benefits of continuing education for healthcare professionals. The importance of continuing education in healthcare goes beyond requirements; both practitioners and patients benefit when providers are up to date on the latest medical techniques and technologies.

The Importance of CME for Providers

Most importantly, continuing education is an opportunity for doctors and other practitioners to learn the latest best practices. Medicine is constantly evolving and care should align with new research and technologies. Unfortunately, the healthcare industry is not immune to false information from low-quality sources (often online). Continuing education is a trusted source of evidence-based updates you can feel confident incorporating into your practice. Depending on your role and interests, CME can be an opportunity to learn specialized or in-demand skills that make your practice more rewarding and beneficial to the populations you serve.

CME is not just about medical updates. Continuing education is also an opportunity for broader professional development. Many CME curriculums incorporate self-assessment, which allows for reflection on personal performance, professional milestones and learning goals. Leadership training, strategies for more effective teamwork, networking and other non-medical training benefit healthcare environments and the individuals working in them as well.

Medical malpractice and the legal repercussions of malpractice are a reality of practicing medicine. However, staying up to date with medical developments in your field and employing them when relevant can lead to better outcomes, increasing patient satisfaction and helping you avoid legal actions. Of course, sometimes this is not enough to mitigate medical malpractice claims. Continuing education can also keep doctors knowledgeable about the relevant legal landscape, including new precedents and laws.

Doctors, advanced practice providers and nurses well-versed in the latest medical updates and other essential knowledge are more confident practitioners who can be trusted by their teammates. This confidence leads to efficiency and productivity, benefiting the providers themselves, as well as their teams and their healthcare organizations. Fully engaging with CME and reaping the benefits of continuing education may even open opportunities for career advancement.

The Importance of CME for Patients

The importance of continuing education in healthcare reaches beyond improving practitioners’ performance and confidence. Continuing education is key in “closing the gap between best practice and common practice” and, ultimately, “saving lives.” Of course, practicing medicine is not only about treating medical conditions but treating patients as whole people shaped by their cultures and communities. CME also aims to bridge these gaps, including important topics like cultural competence in curriculums.