Delivering Un-Biased, Balanced CME: Going the Extra Mile with Peer Review

Delivering Un-Biased, Balanced CME: Going the Extra Mile with Peer Review

 

Ensuring our participants receive fair, balanced and robust education are paramount to providing continuing medical education.  Because expert faculty often have financial relationships with commercial interests by the pure nature of their work on the cutting edge of developing new treatments, guidelines, and processes, one way we at CME Outfitters ensure independence is by utilizing outside, independent peer review. While peer review is not an accreditation requirement, we believe that this external review process is an important component of ensuring the highest quality CME.

CME Outfitters has a network of peer reviewers from different clinical and professional backgrounds that review all of our content before it is presented to learners.

I sat down with two of our peer reviewers, Dr. Jeffrey Helfand, DO, MS and Kimberly Murray, RN, MS to discuss the peer review process and its importance to CME/CE.

CME Outfitters: Why did you choose to be a peer reviewer?

Helfand: Firstly, it allows me an opportunity to participate in the medical education process, and secondly, it affords me a chance to keep myself up to date with what’s happening today in the delivery of health care.

Murray: Peer reviewing is important because you can trust that others in your field with the same experience have checked the standards for that project or article. I love to remain part of the process and stay connected to my academic years of teaching and enjoy reading all the new research that comes out.

Every CME Outfitters activity includes the most recent data from clinical research, new and emerging therapeutic agents, and the latest in best practices for working with patients and their families. Our science team works closely with faculty to develop a well-thought-out presentation using a presentation that optimizes the instructional design.

CME Outfitters: How important is peer review for the content development process for CME activities?

Helfand:  I believe peer review is extremely important in providing the most accurate and timely information available as a way of continuously improving health care.

Murray: Very important! Over the years, across organizations, I’ve reviewed great material and I’ve seen some presentations that really need to be sent back to the drawing board. Even though a Scientist or Physician develops a new treatment, that doesn’t mean they automatically know how to make a great presentation. Sometimes they need a little help.

Our learners frequently respond during evaluation that at least 75% of the content is new to them. The peer review process helps safeguard that while the content is new to learners, they aren’t getting a biased education.

CME Outfitters: What do you personally look for when reviewing an activity?

Helfand: I try to make sure all the information is not only accurate, but also presented in an understandable, cogent way, is evidence based, and that the information is appropriate for the intended audience.

Murray: I follow a rubric with college level writing skill, i.e. formatting, spelling, grammar, APA references. Is there evidenced based research? Is there bias from a funding source or disclosure? Is the activity/presentation interesting/graphic/long enough/engaging?

With a standard process for all activities, our peer reviewers are able to provide a structured, timely review of content, offering an objective, ‘fresh set of eyes,’ to our activities and look not only for potential bias, but also that the content and format are conveyed well.

CME Outfitters: What makes for constructive peer review?

Helfand: Not being adversarial. Using questions to extract out what the author was trying to convey to the audience. Maybe carefully suggesting alternative ways of delivering the same information in a way that might be more easily understood.

Murray: If the activity fails any of the rubric, I provide positive feedback with examples, so they can edit their work before presenting.

Our peer reviewers work hard to review all of our courses and provide objective feedback to our science team and faculty. Check out some of our latest courses that have come through the peer review process:

 

About the Author

Whitney Faler
Director of Accreditation
CME Outfitters, LLC