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J Contin Educ Health Prof. 2002 Winter;22(1):55-62.

Medical education and communication companies: an updated in-depth profile.

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  • 1Centric Medical Communications, Inc., Philadelphia, USA.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

The integrity of medical education and communication companies (MECCs) and their role in continuing medical education (CME) are frequently challenged, perhaps because of a lack of published information characterizing these providers. Published in 1998, a survey of MECCs began the identification and description of these organizations so that meaningful conclusions could be drawn about their role in CME. The present study enhances the profile created by that original survey.

METHODS:

A 21-item questionnaire was mailed to 182 companies identified from 3 commercially available lists.

RESULTS:

Forty-six (25.2%) companies responded. Surveys revealed that 25 (54%) of the respondent companies have 1 to 25 employees, 66.6% have separate CME divisions, 64.4% are accredited to provide CME, 77.7% have at least 1 licensed health care professional on staff, and 33.2% of their leaders hold a doctoral degree and 28.8% hold professional licensure, whereas 88.6% have advisory boards, 93.1% of which review each CME activity.

DISCUSSION:

MECCs comprise a diverse group differing in size and accreditation status. They contribute to the CME community by providing a variety of services, with highly trained staff. Future studies of CME providers should continue to expand the base of knowledge regarding these organizations, resulting in better understanding among all types of providers, opportunities for collaboration, and, ultimately, education that improves patient care.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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