When it comes to making the best use of the slower business as a result of COVID-19, completing your annual CME requirements can be a great way to build your skills, satisfy your annual requirements, and make effective use of your time so that when your practice does reopen can focus your attention fully on your business. Consider the following as your looking at ways of completing your annual CME during the COVID-19 shutdown.
Find virtual CME courses
Physicians that specialize in dermatology who are board-certified by the American Board of Dermatology must complete at least 25 Category 1 CME credits every year to meet their maintenance of certification (MOC) requirement. Knocking out those requirements now—while business is a little slower for your practice—can help free up time later so you can be laser-focused on getting your business back off its feet. It can be hard to know which courses to focus on with all of the current uncertainty, however. Let’s start with some basic guidelines to determine which options might be a good fit for you and your practice.
Virtual or in-person courses
First, should you consider virtual or in-person courses for your CME requirements? While some physicians much prefer their CMEs to be as hands-on as possible, that may not be possible with social distancing guidelines and different states’ restrictions on travel and gatherings. As a result, virtual courses are likely a much safer option; the last thing you want is to register for a course that is then canceled—leaving you scrambling for another course on short notice.
Second, you need to consider which skills or resources would be more helpful to you, whether that’s expanding your current skills and practice offerings or if you’re more interested in developing new skills or learning new techniques, for instance.
Price per credit
Third, given that your practice may already be struggling to replenish working capital, the price per credit may also be a consideration, as is whether or not you consider it a business expense or personal expense. While most CMEs aren’t terribly expensive for what they offer, the value of the course may be a consideration this year in a way it may not have been in previous years.
Fourth, depending on when the course is offered—especially given that some courses are available to be completed at your leisure and others are only available at certain times—time commitment may also be a consideration. If the course is offered now, for instance, you may have more time available to focus on the content. If the course is offered in a few weeks, however, right in the middle of when you are helping your practice transition into seeing in-office patients again, you may not have much time available then.
Finally, while this is not a consideration for virtual/remote courses, if you do consider an in-person course, the location may prove important as each state is handling social distancing and quarantining guidelines differently.
Expand current skills
If you decide to focus on expanding your current skills, think about how those skills might complement what your practice is able to offer in the way of patient services. For instance, if you specialize in acne treatments, perhaps you might explore a CME course focused on new topical treatments. Similarly, if your specialty is in cosmetic dermatology, you might consider a CME course that explores new face-lift techniques.
Develop new skills
Finally, you may decide that rather than expanding your current skills, you’d rather focus on at least beginning to develop new skills. These might be focused on new patient offerings or on an aspect of running your practice, for instance.
Resources for finding CME options
Lastly, there are some resources that might help you find CME courses that might appeal to you, your timeline and budget, and focus areas. Consider the following professional organizations and resource sites as a starting point:
- American Academy of Dermatology (AAD)
- American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)
- Dermatology Education Foundation (DEF)