“In order to provide continuously improving health care to their patients while staying informed about new advances in the medical field, it is imperative for doctors and nurses to take part in continuing medical education,” said Dr Wasim Jafri, Associate Dean of Continuing Medical Education at Aga Khan University while speaking to the organising committee of the annual forum on CME to be held on December 26 at Aga Khan University.
CME refers to refresher courses that help medical professionals maintain competence and learn about new and developing areas of their field. The World Health Organization estimates that over a billion people worldwide lack access to quality health services. The shortage of health workers is compounded by the fact that their skills, competencies, clinical experience and expectations are often insufficient for the health needs of the population.
According to health care experts Carl Lindsay, James Morrison, and E. James Kelley, approximately half of the knowledge obtained in medical schools becomes obsolete in five years. Hence, it is essential that health professionals constantly update their skills.
In Pakistan, a five-year MBBS is followed by a one-year internship before the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) registers a doctor. As a result many doctors employ techniques and prescribe medications based on knowledge which is several years old. In order to avoid such problems, it is important for health specialists to constantly keep up with new research and prescribe the most effective evidence-based medication.
“Continuing medical education in the health professions is in disarray. CME programmes do not adequately focus on improving clinician performance and patient health outcomes. The emphasis is on measuring acquired knowledge, based on training results and hours instead of assessing competence and skills as a result of professional development. Hence, it is the need of the hour to properly accredit the programme for improving the quality and outcome,” said Dr Jafri.