Continuing Medical Education

Planning a CME Activity

The CME planning process generally follows the classic Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) model for improvement.

The Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle is a simple yet powerful tool for accelerating improvement by developing a plan to test the change (Plan), carrying out the test (Do), observing and learning from the consequences (Study), and determining what modifications should be made to the test (Act).

Basically, the meeting planner is asking: What are we trying to accomplish? How will we know that a change is an improvement? What changes can we make that will result in improvement?

If planning an annual event or a series of learning interventions, this model can be quite useful for measuring change, particularly in physician performance or patient outcomes.

More information on Plan-Do-Study-Act in health care is available through the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and PubMed.

Applications and Forms

The IU School of Medicine Application and Planning Worksheet is the primary starting point for planning a CME activity. To get started, the planner must establish a planning team based on the “question in practice” (area of focus or concern) to address. With that in mind, the planning worksheet asks planners to think through and complete these steps:

  1. Identify practice gaps.
  2. Provide needs assessment data.
  3. Write objectives and expected results.
  4. Identify your target audience.
  5. Suggest an appropriate educational format(s).
  6. List desirable physician attributes/core competencies that will be addressed.
  7. Identify potential or known barriers to learning.
  8. Examine patient safety concerns (if applicable).
  9. Determine how the activity will be evaluated against the objectives.
  10. Identify potential partners and allies.

Planners should allow at least three months for the activity development process to occur and notify the IU School of Medicine CME office as far in advance as possible to begin the process.