Continuing Medical Education and Lifelong Learning

How do you continue to learn when you are in practice and are very busy?  This is an important tenet for the field of continuing medical education, which itself is undergoing constant change.
Many years ago, the methods for achieving required accredited CME were straightforward.  It was common for physicians in practice to attend a medical conference, whether or not it was of interest or applicable to the specialty of the physician.  In such venues, the primary mode of education was didactic.  Nowadays, the possibilities to achieve CME credits are quite numerous, and involve varied methods besides the traditional “lecture”, especially via the internet.  One which has garnered increasing interest recently, in light of maintenance of certification, is performance improvement CME, known as “PI-CME”. 
As an example of the importance of lifelong learning, today I just updated my Epocrates account, and signed up for free CME through this company.  The case-based vignettes were very similar to what would be seen in practice, in my opinion.  The material was presented in an excellent format, review questions were very well written, and feedback was provided, all through the internet from the comfort of my living room recliner. 
Different states have different requirements for a minimum number of accredited CME.  Recall that most affiliations with hospitals, in addition to state licensure, require a minimum amount of required CME accreditation, usually on the order of 50 hours every two years.
Regardless of the number of hours, the key is that physicians be able to identify their own learning needs, and should develop some sort of rationale for how to stay current in their chosen fields.  A great example of an online CME on the topic of Social Media and LifeLong Learning, by Dr. Neil Mehta, can be found here. How are you doing at keeping up in your area of expertise?  Specifically, what strategies can we instill in learners in residency and medical school to cement the importance of lifelong learning so critical to the success of today’s health care professionals?  Please free free to comment on this post: I'm interested in hearing the opinions of others, including those in training, and those who have completed formal training but are still learning.

Blogging for Medical Professionals

I have recently hit a “6-Month Anniversary” on Twitter.  It has been a true learning experience.  My foray into blogging is even newer, and I am by no means an expert.  In fact, I am just getting started in the Blogosphere. 
What does one Blog about? [Yes, I do realize this Blog is about Blogging; akin to the Seinfeld sitcom episode describing a Coffee Table book about Coffee Tables]

In looking at Blogging for Medical Professionals, it is interesting to note different approaches.  Here are a few:

So what’s my take?  Blog if you want to.  Blog if you get something out of it.  Blog to disseminate information.  Blog for social reasons.  Blog if it helps you with your return on investment.  Just remember to have fun!

Reflections on Six Months of Social Media in Medical Education

It has been a wild ride over the past six months.  I have had the opportunity to meet many new people through Twitter over the course of these six months.  I have learned many more things about how to use Social Media to improve education.  Below are a few thoughts.
1.       Social Media is not a bad thing.  It is about a new way of communication.  This is a good thing.  Several generations (particularly my own) are hesitant to jump into Social Media for fear of “doing something wrong”, especially those in medicine.  This is unfortunate.  Yes, there are clearly limits to what should and what should not be done on Social Media, especially with regard to patients.  But there is nothing wrong with communicating with other people. 
2.       Social Media has made me more efficient, not less.  Depending on whom one chooses to follow, it is interesting to learn about new information so quickly.  I encourage those hesitant to start in Social Media to “just try it”.
3.       There are some very intelligent people on Twitter who have great things to say about medical education.   This should be shared, not suppressed.  People like @RyanMadanickMD , @FutureDocs , @daniellenjones , @Neil_Mehta , and many others provide great insights into medical education, from many different points of view.
4.       Twitter chats take some getting used to, but are definitely great at learning and sharing information with others.  Different medical hashtags provide opportunity to share and learn from many others with similar interests.   This site is great at learning about those different hashtags.

Examples of great links which I found from people I follow on Twitter, about Social Media in Medical Education (in no particular order):

Please comment if you have any others on the topic.

Thank you to all of my Twitter friends/followers for your great ideas/links/thoughts on using Twitter for Medical Education.  Keep up the great Tweets!
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