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More CME/CE programs now packaged with PT

July 2004
Linda Palicki, MT(ASCP)

The CAP this year is rolling out more opportunities for subscribers to Surveys and EXCEL to earn continuing education credits, and, unlike last year, all members of the laboratory staff can participate.

To increase the value of its educational programs, the CAP began in 2003 providing formalized education activities with selected Surveys and EXCEL products and awarding continuing medical education or continuing education credit for completion.

These new education activities offer practical, relevant information that can be used on the job immediately. The activities’ self-study format makes it possible for learners to complete the education quickly on the job or at home. Participants have to read a discussion, final critique, or special topic, and respond to learning- assessment questions and case studies related to the reading.

The first products with which the formal education activities were offered were the Bacteriology Survey (D), Transfusion Medicine Survey (J/JE), B-type Natriuretic Peptide Survey (BNP), Maternal Screening Survey (FP), and the EXCEL PT Program (all mailings).

Laboratories enrolled in these first enhanced products were able to meet their proficiency testing requirements, and one member of their laboratory staff was allowed to complete the formal education activity at no additional cost.

Feedback on the formal education activities has been positive. Evaluations returned by participants indicate that learners’ practical needs are being met. In a representative evaluation, about 80 percent of respondents said they would apply on their jobs what they learned. Participants listed a wide range of specific changes and improvements they planned to make on the job as a result of the education they received. Seventy-five percent reported that self-study with learning-assessment questions was an effective way for them to learn and that the time and effort required was reasonable given the benefits of participation.

An array of laboratory professionals have taken advantage of these education opportunities: pathologists, medical directors, technologists and technicians, quality assurance personnel, laboratory managers and administrative directors, and section heads and supervisors.

Evaluations also show that laboratory managers and supervisors want more education activities, and they want all of their laboratory staff to be able to participate. This gave the CAP an opportunity to improve its services further, by offering education activities with more products and by offering the activities online so all laboratorians could participate.

This year, laboratories enrolled in Surveys and EXCEL products that have related education activities may offer these activities to all laboratory staff. Laboratories continue receiving the reading material with the participant summary or final critique. Laboratory staff who want to earn continuing education credit are directed to complete the reading and then access the CAP Web site to complete the learning-assessment questions. Because the questions are offered online, multiple staff can participate in a given education activity, and participants get immediate feedback after responding to each learning-assessment question.

For 2004, the following products offer education activities: Bacteriology Survey (D): all mailings; Parasitology Survey (P): all mailings; Transfusion Medicine Surveys (J/JE): A and B mailings; Coagulation Surveys (CG1/2): B mailing; Chemistry Surveys (C1-5): B mailing; Sweat Analysis Survey (SW): B mailing; Hematology Surveys (HE,FH,KP): C mailing; Therapeutic Drug Monitoring Survey (Z): A mailing (online component not yet available); Tumor Marker Survey (TM): A mailing (online not yet available); Maternal Screening Survey (FP): all mailings (online not yet available); and EXCEL PT Program: all mailings.

Laboratory managers and supervisors are encouraged to circulate the education activity materials to all members of the laboratory staff so they can participate and earn free CME or CE.

New education activities are being planned for 2005 and beyond. For more information, contact the CAP customer contact center at 800-323-4040 option 1#.

Linda Palicki is a technical analyst in the CAP Division of Laboratory Improvement.