Regents approve online CME and other member benefits
By Phyllis Maguire
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SAN DIEGO—At its meeting before Annual Session, the Board of Regents voted to give members several benefits, including an online CME program and continued free access to the College's decision-support tool. Here is an overview of the services:
Online CME. The Regents approved a recommendation to create an online literature-based CME program for members, subject to the approval of the program's business plan and financial impact statement. Under the plan, the College would identify a body of evidence-based articles drawn from Annual Session Updates, ACP Journal Club and Annals of Internal Medicine. The College will explore the idea of offering physicians a self-assessment test for each journal article, as well as CME credit.
First recommended by the Board of Governors, the concept could be an important element in developing alternate pathways to recertification, several Regents said. The College intends to discuss alternate recertification pathways with the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and internal medicine subspecialty societies through the Liaison Committee on Recertification. (For more, see "Recertification update," later in this article.)
E-mail services. The Board approved a recommendation in concept to work with Medem Inc., a company that helps physicians communicate with patients via e-mail and the Web. The company allows physicians to get paid for e-mail consults by charging patients and then reimbursing physicians for their services. The company also creates customized Web sites for individual physicians and practices.
While an agreement between ACP and Medem has not been finalized, the goal is to provide College members access to Medem's secure e-mail services.
PIER. The Regents voted to continue to give members free online access to PIER for the 2003-2004 fiscal year as a membership benefit. PIER, the Physicians' Information and Education Resource, is the College's evidence-based, point-of-care decision-support tool.
The product now includes informational modules on more than 200 different diseases and conditions. Members can access it online.
Recertification update. The Regents heard a report from members of the Board of Governors and Board of Regents who represent the College on the Liaison Committee on Recertification. The committee is charged with working with the ABIM and subspecialty societies to improve ABIM's Continuous Professional Development (CPD) recertification process.
Regent William E. Golden, FACP, who chairs the College's representation on the committee, described the first meeting in March as "a good meeting." He noted that ABIM representatives seemed committed to making the self-evaluation process modules "user friendly."
New Annals features. Annals Editor Harold C. Sox, MACP, told the Regents about several new journal features the publication is rolling out. One new feature will allow Annals subscribers to download the Annals table of contents, editors' notes and article abstracts to their handheld computers. When physicians "hot-sync" their handhelds to desktop computers, they can retrieve full text of selected Annals articles.
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