Earning CME: Drawback of CME Conferences

CME conferences

There are many ways to earn CME nowadays. One of the most popular methods for physicians is through out-of-town CME conferences. Although most CME conferences were canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is becoming a top choice travel once again becomes an option. Many healthcare professionals are choosing CME conferences in 2022 and beyond to fulfill their credits in lieu of online activities.

While attending a CME conference may seem like the perfect mix of work and vacation, there are drawbacks to choosing conferences for CME credits. Here are some of the downsides of CME conferences:

CME Approach & Subject Matter Often Hasn’t Been Updated

Since the beginning, CME has focused on educating individual practitioners by strengthening knowledge in their specialty and diseases. However, rapidly changing medical practice has created the need for new types of education that is centered around interdisciplinary teams, efficiency of care delivery, and communication among team members.

CME needs to be transformed in a meaningful way. A wholesale change is required in the culture of CME educators and the science behind CME. Conferences need to be built with an emphasis on skills and practice that ensures patient safety and quality outcomes. CME needs to take a comprehensive look at continuing professional development, dispose of siloed knowledge and instead offer relevant and up-to-date educational support for today’s medical practice.

The Mental Burden of Combining Work and Fun

CME conferences seem like the best of both worlds. Fulfilling your continuing education requirements while enjoying time at an exciting destination? Where’s the downside?

One important consideration is your work-life balance. There is a time for work and a time for play, and burnout is unfortunately a very real problem both in and out of healthcare. Will you be refreshed after attending a CME conference, or will you be ready for actual time off?

CME Conferences Cost Valuable Time

The monetary cost of a CME conference may be covered by your stipend. However, there is more to life than money. For physicians who manage their own practice, this means several days of shutting business doors, not seeing patients, and/or leaving other doctors on staff with additional work. Your valuable time off can be spent with family and friends, rather than traveling for a work-related conference.

There are a number of online CME options that allow you to easily earn CME credits anytime, anywhere. Many also offer a bonus gift card to help you make the most of your stipend without costing time away from friends and family.

Conference CME May Not be Applicable

As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and CME conferences become a popular option for physicians once again, you may notice a large growth in the number of available conferences. Not all CME conferences are created equally, and many are not worth the cost or effort to attend. 

Limits of the Federal Sunshine Act

It could be argued that the Federal Sunshine Act has effectively gutted CME conferences. A recent survey on the issue showed that nearly 50% of physicians say they do not appear on panels for fear of the appearance of conflict with the Sunshine Act (requiring transparent reporting of pharma/physician interactions). This limits knowledge sharing.

Costs for CME has increased exponentially as Big Pharma has reduced its commercial support by $1 billion under the Sunshine Act. Physicians must still pursue CME and as a result, increased costs fall squarely on their shoulders.

BoardVitals provides a convenient way to stay up to date in your specialty and complete your CME by learning from self-assessment question banks that are updated in real-time to provide physicians with the latest medical information on the market. 

Want to learn more about CME and MOC requirements? Download our Free eBook, Navigating Continuing Medical Education: A Guide to CME/MOC Requirements.

Looking for additional alternatives to CME conferences? Check out these free CME courses that will help you meet your CME requirements.

The writing staff at BoardVitals is passionate about medicine, healthcare, and education. We’ve trained over 1.5 million physicians and work with more than 300 top teaching institutions. Learn more about our board review and continuing education products at boardvitals.com.

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