A Better Way to Make the CME Allowance Work for Clinicians


By Jordan G Roberts, PA-C

If you are employed, you probably have a perk that includes some amount of money to cover the costs you incur while earning continuing medical education (CME).

This perk has an obvious problem, however. Its absolute dollar amount has generally remained stagnant while CME costs continue to rise. Public pressure has caused pharmaceutical and medical device companies to decrease their funding for such programs, and clinicians have picked up the tab. Over your career, you may have noticed an explosion of choices and variety of CME available. (If you haven’t, I’d like to introduce you to my friend Google). This is despite a near 25 percent decrease in the number of individual CME providers around since 2006.

Over the past ten or more years, the CME industry’s volume of physician interaction has grown 37 percent. Over the same decade, interactions with physician assistants and nurse practitioners has accelerated more than 90 percent.

While both free and paid options are available, the paid programs have become more expensive over time. One reason for this is the loss of (or unwillingness to accept) industry funding. Another is CME providers’ increased investment in higher quality and more robust offerings. A third factor may be textbook capitalism. Remember that 25 percent decrease in CME providers over ten years? That’s not because they are going out of business, although participants grossly underestimate the costs of running such programs. No, smaller providers are being bought out by their competitors, decreasing competition.

In today’s fast-paced world of exponential information growth, it is more important than ever for clinicians to stay as up-to-date as possible. Couple this challenge with an increasing trend toward employment of physicians, PA’s, and NP’s, and it’s no wonder there is so much negativity aimed at the “benefit” of a CME allowance.

Rather than accept lower-quality CME or skip that important conference, we propose a unique solution.

The benefits to the employer include better healthcare providers, happier, more connected clinicians, and a major return on their investment. Yes, CME saves the healthcare system money.

The benefits to the clinicians include lower levels of job-related stress, higher feelings of career satisfaction, and decreased burnout.

It’s a win for all parties at the table.

Continue Reading to Learn about the Solution →


Jordan G Roberts, PA-C helps medical education companies create and distribute the best medical education around. He helps students and clinicians improve their clinical game by using his background in neuroscience to teach simple ways to learn complex medical topics. He is a published researcher, national speaker, and medical writer. He can be found at Modern MedEd where he promotes clinical updates, medical writing, and medical education.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

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