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Domains‐based Outcomes Assessment of Continuing Medical Education: The VA's Model

Gilman, Stuart C. MD, MPH; Cullen, Robert J. PhD; Leist, James C. EdD; Craft, Carol A. RN, PhD

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Abstract

Demonstrating outcomes of continuing medical education (CME) efforts has become increasingly important to CME providers, accrediting organizations, and licensing bodies. Many CME providers have difficulty defining the nature of the outcomes, much less documenting the outcomes for which they are responsible. The vague nature of the terms “outcome,” “impact,” or “result” in the complexity of health care and medical education environments is a particular obstacle to many education providers. To overcome these barriers, the VA's Employee Education System (EES), a large CME provider, created a model identifying five major domains of possible outcomes for CME interventions; these are the domains of individual participants, employee teams, the larger organization, patients, and the community. These domains are useful in either assessing a single CME activity's outcomes or comprehensively assessing a CME provider's outcomes-assessment strategy. The use of such a domains-based outcomes-management strategy links organizational mission, needs assessment, specific activity assessment, and assessment of the overall education program. This approach may be useful to CME providers, accrediting and licensing bodies, or others interested in the relationship of CME outcomes to the activities of CME providers.

© 2002 Association of American Medical Colleges

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