Deck stacked against MECCS?

I had to cut this from the December Medical Meetings cover story on continuous performance improvement, but I think it's important to talk about. Because I was pretty sure it wasn't going to make it into the issue, I didn't call any medical education companies to get that side of the issue, but I'd like to invite MECCs or anyone else, for that matter, to chime in here or via e-mail.

Here's the cut item:

Many medical education and communication companies have expressed that the continuous performance improvement model is a poor fit for them, because they’re not intimately aligned with the organization they’re working with and so may not have access to the quality improvement data and people they’d need to collaborate with to design effective CME.

Donald Moore, PhD, Director, Division of CME, Director of Education and Evaluation, Graduate Medical Education, Faculty Associate, Office of Teaching and Learning in Medicine, Professor of Medical Education and Administration, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, says that doesn’t have to be the case. “It’s the old question of what business you are in. Instead of providing the kind of support they’ve been providing to pharma, they could switch their business model to become a performance-improvement-oriented organization that provides a service to hospitals and health systems.”

While he acknowledges that it might be a tough switch to make, at least initially, “If I were the president of a MECC, I’d be seeing all kinds of opportunity.” For example, he says, “If a MECC came to me today and said we can work with you to develop five 10-minutes spots on specific information on diabetes, I’d be all ears. That’s something we need: something that’s online and interactive and to-the-point, that can address specific improvement issues” that skips all the background and research and goes straight to what a physician could do to improve care for a patient whose hemoglobin A1c is higher than it should be. The only caveat is that the spots would have to be tied to evidence-based measures and improving performance in practice. MECCs would need to collaborate with those who have the practice data and evidence of practice gaps as needs assessment, says Nancy Davis, PhD, Executive Director, the National Institute for Quality Improvement and Education.

Update: I heard via e-mail that in fact some of the best PI CME programs around are being designed and implemented by MECCs, and that not being a part of the institution is no hindrance to getting the job done. My e-mailer suggested a few folks I could talk to to learn more, but if you have a good story to tell (either a success story or a challenge you face in doing PI CME), drop me a line or comment below. Thanks!

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