Physician Burnout Epidemic Demands Changes in Current CME Policy

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

physician-burnout-epidemic-demands-cme-changesHave you ever tried to get CME authorization for a non-clinical physician training?

It is the most frustrating example of a Catch 22 you will find in modern healthcare.

Succinctly put - if a training directly benefits the attendee and their quality of life, it is ineligible for CME credits

If you want to snore your way through, "Common rashes in primary care" or any one of the incomprehensible updates coming from the bleeding edges of medical research ... the CME credits are no more difficult to obtain than a Grande Americano in Starbucks.

[I will obviously acknowledge that clinical, patient-centered CME is the core of maintaining your clinical skills long term ... and let's all admit clinical education is NOT ENOUGH to produce a happy, healthy, balanced and productive modern doctor.]

We recently applied for 9 hours of CME credit for our Heart of the Healer Retreat coming up in September. We were given 6 hours of credit and denied the remaining three specifically because,"the training will benefit the physician attendees".

The burnout epidemic is a powerful sign that current medical education is failing physicians in the front lines - in medical school, residency AND in CME training for practicing doctors. 

Physicians everywhere need burnout prevention training now.

Burnout is on the front burner for many and spending your "free time" on another clinical disease update only makes things worse.

If we are not going to teach about signs, symptoms and prevention techniques for physician burnout during medical school and residency ... it sure should be a post-post-graduate body of knowledge that is easily eligible for CME ... yes?? Instead, current CME accreditation policy only makes this job more difficult.

If you want to teach doctors about burnout, stress management, meditation, yoga, life balance techniques or any of the other Ideal Practice System tools we specialize in here at - CME credit is FAR more difficult to obtain than for any clinical training.  Let me tell you why again, simply because it takes a while to sink in.

If the training benefits the physician's quality of life ... or is experiential in nature -- as in practicing a new skill that will improve their quality of life -- it is automatically disqualified under current CME Policy.

WHAT ????

This is the Triple Aim poisoning the well of continuing medical education despite the widely acknowledged physician burnout epidemic. The Triple Aim taught us that if our focus is only on the patient, we burn out the doctors. Time for the Quadruple Aim to come to CME policy.

It is time to acknowledge that if all we do is teach the doctors about patient care ...

  • While we fail to teach them how to be happy and healthy as a physician ...
  • Then maintain this blind spot around stress, stress management and burnout prevention by denying CME for these subjects ...
  • We are missing a tremendous opportunity to attack physician burnout at its roots

And denying CME credit to activities that improve the quality of life of physicians simply because -- they improve the quality of life of the physician ... is INSANE


Please leave a comment ...

What physician burnout training would you participate in if you were given CME credits?


Tags: physician burnout training