Understanding and Communicating the Dynamic Nature of “Value”

By Patricia Jassak, MS, RN, FACEhp, CHCP, Director, IME and Medical External Affairs, Medical Affairs, Astellas Pharma Global Development Inc., Chair of the ACEhp Education Committee; and Scott Weber, President, Med-IQ; Chair of the ACEhp Advocacy Committee

As the healthcare system undergoes massive transformation from volume- to value-based care, the CME/CE enterprise has never before been at such a critical junction in its evolution. We play pivotal roles in facilitating and sustaining this transformation. Moreover, with so much focus on justifying the value of our role in the healthcare system, we must collaborate to understand, explain and promote the benefits that our CME/CE educational activities provides.

Those who are part of the CME/CE enterprise understand the value of the education we develop, implement and evaluate. We see it clearly in the outcomes data we collect, and see how we’re improving knowledge and behavior. Yet our profession often struggles to translate activity-level successes into broad, value-based discussions with external stakeholders.

Explaining “Value”

Of course, our most important stakeholders are the learners, but beyond our learners are those who fund, develop, deliver, promote and shape policy around CME/CE. In order to explain our success, we must first gain a better understanding of who these key stakeholders are and how they understand and value CME/CE.

We must learn  how to speak with these stakeholders in their own languages. We have to learn to communicate clearly about measurable goals and impact. We have to illuminate compelling stories that reside within our data. An effective way to achieve these goals is by learning to craft an “elevator pitch.”

Developing the most effective pitch requires the presenter to consider how value as perceived by one stakeholder will invariably be different than the value for another stakeholder. This is a dynamic challenge, requiring us to shape our discussions around the issues and outcomes significant to each group.



We would benefit as a profession if we could agree on a definition of the value of CE. This is no easy task. However, we propose the broad definition that value is illustrated through “changes in behavior that improve patient care.” Many CME/CE providers can demonstrate varying degrees of achieving this goal.

Alliance_161201-17_JulyAlmanac_web_p36.jpgThe difficulty often comes when we try to document the true outcomes in terms of patient care. If we use “improving patient care” as a universal value statement, then our entire profession must seek to identify how our education improves patient care a universal way. If we fail to do this, our individual approaches will continue to be fragmented and exist without a common denominator.

The value of CME/CE is more dynamic, complex and far-reaching than the cost per learner. Other factors must be considered, such as educational effect, quality, reach, participation, accuracy, adherence to compliance standards and many others. As a profession, we must find a way to measure, expand and articulate these aspects of the comprehensive CME/CE value equation. This is the only way to ensure each stakeholders understands, appreciates and supports the work that we do to improve patient care.

What are your thoughts? How can or should our profession position the “value” of CE? Send your answers to advocacy@acehp.org 

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