GAME 2012: Interesting mix of topics

It must be really difficult to put together a program that can satisfy the educational needs of CME professionals from Sydney to Singapore to San Francisco, but I think this year's Global Alliance for Medical Educators (aka GAME) annual meeting pulled it off. Let's see how much I can yammer on about it before heading off to the CME Congress!

First up was Dr. Charles Boelen, former coordinator of the World Health Organization's program of human resources for health and current health systems consultant. He talked about the changing world today's healthcare professional works in, from demographic changes and environmental shifts to the economic whirlwind we've been adapting to lately, the growth of globalization, and need for more transparency.

It was interesting that he called a systems approach that shows a progression from medical education to improved practice to an improved healthcare system that will in turn benefit society as a whole "a bit naive." But he's right, it's not that linear a process. And it is backward to start from education and move up, rather than start with the societal needs and move backward to figuring out how to design education that will help address those needs.

Key quote: "We've been educating for decades, and only now are asking what for."

And the biggest of those societal needs that make up the "what for," he said, were relevance, equity so all can benefit (he pointed to a 20-year difference in life expectancy between people who live in different parts of London as an example of current inequity), quality, and cost-effectiveness.

And there are lots of strategic opportunities for CPD, he said, including:

* Improve the performance of academic institutions.

* Participate in designing and testing new strategies

* Create new synergies with key stakeholders

One interesting point he made is that we tend to confuse medicine with health: Medicine only addresses about 10 percent of our health issues; the other 90 percent is due to things including social and environmental factors. "We have to work on preventing illness," he said, not just curing disease.

It was a good overview, and a good way to kick off the meeting, I thought.

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