The Continuing Medical Education is now a must for any medical conference / congress. All the organizers – no matter how important is the issue addressed – they care that, at least part of their event, falls under the heading “CME” with the consequent allocation of credits for medicians who participate.
The reason is pretty straightforward: If there are two interesting meetings, one that also gives credits and one not, who will choose your doctor? Since they can not afford to go to both (having to work too!), he’ll likely choose the event that in addition to the update on the latest research also provide CME credits, that is recognized by the Ministry of Health and mandatory, too!
The obligation of continuing education was introduced in 2002 by the Ministry of Health and six years after delegated to Age.na.s, which manages, monitors and verifies the proper operation of the CME events.
Who can organize a CME event?
The CME providers. These are public and private organizations, ranging from universities, cnr, scientific foundations, professional associations of the sector up to private companies and agencies, provided they have a structure with a stable organization.
The provider bears the burden of training. They must be able to put together a scientific committee at the height of their topics, choose speakers from appropriate curriculum, research sponsors, deal with accreditation of the event.
And if it is not able to deal directly, it must identify the PCO that deals with the organizing secretary and the entire logistics of the event.
How you become a CME provider?
Any entity that falls within the permitted categories, to become providers must apply for accreditation to the National Commission for Continuing Education or to the regions / autonomous provinces. This accreditation (provisional initially, after at least one year may be made final) it provides for the registration in the Register of CME Providers and certifies the ability and enabling it to carry out educational activities suitable for CME, identifying and attributing directly credits to educational events and releasing the relevant certificate to the participants (Ref: www.agenas.it site)
PCO role in organizing the CME event
For a PCO, to organize an CME event is in effect how to organize any event, since all the practices, research sponsors, speakers, etc. is in the hands of the provider.
Definitely it needs some more attention in finding the hostess, who already have experience in the ECM industry because of the variety of documents, questionnaires, etc. to be submitted to the participants.
The real sticking point, although supported by the provider, may be the location. At ministerial level, there are no particular restrictions on the location, but most often are the ethical codes of sponsors, which require constraints on the choice of location and non-training activities within the event.
The location should leave no doubt that the event is an excuse to bring doctors on vacation, in the hope of obtaining favors. To this are often the pharmaceutical companies the strictest on this point of view.
So no sea in summer or winter ski resort, nothing historic or charming homes or charming, no spas or 5 star hotel.
Fortunately our country doesn’t lack of choice, even with these constraints.
The quarrels are of the Provider
Already the hardest job is surely this! The weight of organizing a CME event always falls on Provder shoulders!
Besides all the effort to define a scientifically adeguat program (then knowing that every participant will complete a satisfaction questionnaire), finding suitable luminaries, organize timeline, determine loans and credit the event, look for sponsors with which to contracts comply with the CME rules (tight contracts through PCO), make sure the event communication shall comply with the rules (for example, sponsors or drugs names should not appear in the program, in relationships, even in the classroom where the conference takes place, while have access to different stations engaged just for promotional purpose). Finally, as for the PCO, the rule of “Study and woe if you have fun” also applies to the program: forbidden to talk about museums, excursions to discover the area or city of art, contemporary with great exhibitions, gala dinners, parties dancing, afternoon at the pool, and so on and so forth!
Thank goodness the coffee break is allowed !!
So: strictly educational programs, woe to let go or you lose the sponsor (which is very problematic, don’t you think so?!)
After that, it must deal with concrete allocation of the participants who attended the minimum number of hours required, reporting played with two other subjects: PCO, and sponsors.
To organize CME Conference: the ideal solution
Based on the experience of ACX, the ideal solution is Provider and PCO coincidence. The organizational experience of the PCO is a great resource for anyone needing to organize, be it logistics or a scientific program. A single structure with both characteristics assumes faster experience, because they organize more events (not limited to a narrow field of medicine). Also over the years, good PCOs create a network of relationships with luminaries and medical societies of great importance, creating a real bank of consultants, which allow PCO to become increasingly able to enter into the merits of scientific programs and identify the most suitable speakers, knowing already the curriculum of all, the unavailability, the best speakers, etc.
This database allows them to speed up the transmission of documents for the accreditation of the event, as many already have. The same applies to the relationship with the sponsors, of which they know needs, interests and sensitivity, making it easier and faster to event sponsorship application.
Finally, one subject who holds both scientific and organizational rows greatly reduces misunderstandings and communication mistakes, it also simplifies the logistical and administrative aspects, eliminating the triangulation Provider – PCO – Sponsor of the event reporting.