Continuing Education in the Health Professions: Improving Healthcare Through Lifelong Learning (Macy Foundation)

Final Report   In November 2007 the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation convened a conference to address complex issues concerning continuing education in the health professions. Participants developed the set of conclusions and recommendations found at the end of this Executive Summary:
Chairman’s Summary of the Conference on Continuing Education in the Health Professions: Improving Healthcare through Lifelong Learning
Proceedings of the Conference Chaired by Suzanne W. Fletcher, M.D., M.Sc.
Published by the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, 2008.

The final report is available as of May 16, 2008:
Continuing Education in the Health Professions: Improving Healthcare Through Lifelong Learning. A Conference Sponsored by the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation. Chaired by Suzanne W. Fletcher, M.D., M.Sc. Bermuda,  November 2007. Edited by Mary Hager, Sue Russell, and Suzanne W. Fletcher, M.D., M.Sc. New York: Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, 2008.

What people are saying about the Chairman’s Summary [updated June 18, 2008]:

Participants developed the set of conclusions and recommendations found at the end of the executive summary, released January 10, 2008.  A more detailed account of the proceedings, along with the background papers, will be included in a monograph to be published by the Macy Foundation late in 2008.

Excerpt: Continuing education (CE) of health professionals is essential to the health of all Americans.With accelerating advances in health information and technology, physicians, nurses and other health professionals must maintain and improve their knowledge and skills throughout their careers in order to provide safe,effective and high quality health care for their patients.

Yet continuing education in the health professions is in disarray. Over the past decade, both professional and lay reports have identified multiple problems. CE, as currently practiced,does not focus adequately on improving clinician performance and patient health. There is too much emphasis on lectures and too little emphasis on helping health professionals enhance their competence and performance in their daily practice. With Internet technology, health professionals can find answers to clinical questions even as they care for patients, but CE does not encourage its use or emphasize its importance. And, while studies show that inter-professional collaboration,teamwork and improved systems are key to high quality care, accrediting organizations have not found ways to promote teamwork or align CE with efforts to improve the quality of health systems.

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