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J Eur CME. 2020 Feb 19;9(1):1729304. doi: 10.1080/21614083.2020.1729304. eCollection 2020.

Current State and Future Opportunities for Continuing Medical Education in Japan.

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International Development, Association for Medical Education in Europe, Dundee, Scotland.
Meducate Global, LLC, Fairfax, VA, USA.
Center for Medical Education, Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan.


Globally, CPD systems vary widely. In Japan, the Japanese Medical Association (JMA) is responsible for identifying content and developing education for its speciality practice physicians. The JMA was concerned about persistent low levels of participation in its CME activities and wanted to better understand the root causes. The analysis would provide an opportunity to restructure its programme informed by the needs of its practising clinicians. The JMA engaged a global education provider to conduct an independent analysis of its CME programme. Using a mixed-methods approach, the education provider conducted an on-line survey (N = 338) and held two in-person focus groups (N = 24) to better understand the perspectives of physicians in speciality practice. The on-line survey was sent to over 7,000 practising physicians throughout Japan. Respondents reflected a variety of medical and surgical specialities and length in clinical practice. They described factors that influenced or were barriers to participation in JMA-sponsored education. Respondents also suggested changes to the current model of CME in Japan and expressed an ongoing commitment to life-long learning and achieving the goals set forth in Japan's vision for health care in 2035: Leading the World Through Health. Globally, medical associations are challenged with developing education that meets the needs of a diverse physician workforce. Improved understanding of the perspectives of its physician members and implementation of collaborations with speciality societies may be one strategy to improve quality and address healthcare population needs. Lessons learned from this analysis may help other medical associations with similar challenges.


CME; CPD; Programme evaluation; medical association

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