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Transparency in Health Care |

Perspectives on Continuing Education in the Health Professions: Improving Health Care Through Lifelong Learning

David C. Leach, MD; Suzanne W. Fletcher, MD, MSc
Author and Funding Information

*From the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (Dr. Leach), Asheville, NC; and the Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention (Dr. Fletcher), Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

Correspondence to: David C. Leach, MD, ACGME, 185 Macon Ave, B-1, Asheville, NC 28804; e-mail: dcl@acgme.org


Dr. Leach has received an honorarium from the Macy Foundation. Dr. Fletcher reports potential conflicts of interest related to continuing education in the health professions because Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care are accredited providers of continuing medical education. Also, she has received honoraria from the American Board of Internal Medicine, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Research Triangle International, the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, The Lancet, and several medical schools for visiting professorships. She receives royalties from Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Wolters Kluwer, and UpToDate.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (www.chestjournal.org/misc/reprints.shtml).

For editorial comment see page 1117


Chest. 2008;134(6):1299-1303. doi:10.1378/chest.08-1022
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In November 2007, the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation convened a conference to address a number of complex issues concerning continuing education (CE) in the health professions. Participants concluded that CE, as currently practiced, does not focus adequately on improving clinician performance and patient care, is too dependent on lectures and too removed from the daily practice of clinicians, does not encourage or emphasize newer technologies and point-of-care learning, is poorly integrated across disciplines, and is inappropriately financed. Recommendations concerning educational methods, metrics, responsibilities, research in CE, financing, and oversight are reviewed. The relationship between the goals of improving clinician performance and patient care, while maintaining high standards of accountability and transparency, are reviewed.


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