CME: Cutting through the Clutter

Dr Joe Kosterich explores valuable ways that you can cut through the clutter to access high quality, implementable medical education.

  It is fair to say that prior to the early 20th century the world of medicine did not change much year to year. The reality was that there were relatively few medications, very few tests available and whether patients got better or not wasn’t highly influenced by medical intervention.

  Some things do not change. The importance of a good history, thorough examination and clinical acumen never go out of fashion. However, the early 21st century could not be more different. The last 50 years has seen an explosion of medical knowledge and the pace of change keeps getting faster.

  Studies are churned out by the dozen. New treatments come on the market on a regular basis. New technologies allow for innovative diagnostic testing and treatments of conditions which previously were hard to or treat or not treatable.

 It can seem overwhelming to those of us in General Practice who are somehow expected to be across changes in every field of medicine. After all, in what other branch of medicine would you see depression, an inflamed eye, followed by acne?

It is almost a discipline in itself to be able to curate the masses of information available and sort out the proverbial wheat from the chaff.

 The question is, in this fast-paced world of primary care, how can GPs keep up with the latest changes, updates and treatments, easily?

  In these days of “fake news” doctors need to be able to trust the information that they receive and be confident that it is clinically valid and actually relevant to their practice. It is almost a discipline in itself to be able to curate the masses of information available and sort out the proverbial wheat from the chaff.

  Once upon a time (in the dim dark ages of the 1980s and 90s) when continuing medical education (CME) became more formalised, most of this was done by reading journals or going to dinner meetings. Conferences started slowly but really took off in the later 90s and into the start of this century.

  Today there are a myriad of choices of, not only what to learn about, but also where and via which format. Online learning has taken off and provides many benefits. The internet allows a far greater choice of topics and content, in an array of formats. It allows the ability to learn at your own pace. You can do it at 3am or on Sunday afternoon. You can do it in your slippers or by the pool.

  To complement the easier to access content online many GPs seek live workshops and conferences as there is still a need to have human interaction and engagement. Whilst live events may disrupt the busy GPs life and schedules, most say this is outweighed by the value of bringing people together, with the invaluable opportunities that networking can provide. A live event gives a clear dimension of hearing what best practice sounds like and what we should all model.

  A well-rounded GP and lifelong learner needs a balance of education that updates knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours that give a direct benefit to patient care and outcome. This means making the effort to access CPD education in both online and live formats.

Jow KosterichDr Joe Kosterich MBBS
Doctor, speaker, author of three books, media presenter and health industry consultant, Dr Joe Kosterich wants you to be healthy and get the most out of life.He is a regular on Channel 9 and radio, writes for various medical and mainstream publications, as well as maintaining a website and blog providing health information. He is the health ambassador for locally grown fresh potatoes. Dr Joe also gives practical motivational health talks for the general public and organizations.