Readers Respond to "Responding to the American Siege Against Continuing Medical Education"

Robin D. Kollman, MD; James Volk, MD


October 03, 2008

To the Editor:

I just listened to the message about CME in America.[1] I agree with you. I am a family physician who has been in practice for 20 some years. I was very involved in the local hospital getting the ability to provide CME accreditation through the Ohio State Medical Association. I was involved in trying to get various programs done there and encouraging attendance by the medical staff. I have spent the last several years increasing my CME time per year through Internet-based, the AAFP [American Academy of Family Physicians], third-party CME business, medical school-sponsored, and locally hospital-sponsored CME.

The following is what I believe is important for physician CME:

  1. Fifty hours a year are inadequate for physicians to try to stay current in the field that they practice, at least in primary care.

  2. The CME should be from a variety of sponsors -- local, statewide, and nationally. Practicing physicians need to avoid developing narrow vision by just attending locally sponsored CME.

  3. Time for physicians is important especially with maintaining balance in life. So diversity of access to CME is important. Thank you, Medscape!

  4. I have attended medical school-sponsored CME and Primary Care Network and Pri-Med-sponsored CME. The latter typically outdo the medical-based CME hands down. The speakers by the latter are brought in because they are good teachers. The program is designed to benefit the audience, in this case primary care physicians. It is about practicing medicine. It is about applying studies to what should be done in the office. It has common sense in it. The latter was into evidence-based teaching before the former.

  5. More CME needs to be evidence-based and indicate how the physician applies it in the everyday medicine practiced in your office!!

The funding from other industries has helped increase the diversity and availability of CME for the practicing physician regardless of that physician's location and finances. The quality of CME has continued to grow greatly in the last decade. The changes in the rules have been working, so please don't break what is working for the practicing physician. I appreciate very much the industries that have helped fund very good CME. In 20 years I have gotten very little out of JAMA to help my patients, but in 5 years I have found numerous ideas to help my patients from Medscape, Primary Care Network, Pri-Med, AAFP, and others.

Robin D. Kollman, MD


  1. Lundberg GD. Responding to the American siege against continuing medical education. Medscape J Med. 2008;10:139. Available at: Accessed June 20, 2008.

Editor's Note:
This letter was shown to the author who has chosen not to reply.

To the Editor:

Some of my most memorable learning experiences have come through pharmaceutical company-sponsored programs, programs I would not have attended if I was expected to foot the cost. Those who advocate eliminating pharmaceutical company sponsorship need to explain how primary care docs will be able to pay for their CME. Will the government increase taxes to support us?

James Volk, MD

Editor's Note:
This letter was shown to the author who has chosen not to reply.


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