Anesthesiologists, RTs face continuing education changes

by Olga Deshchenko, DOTmed News Reporter | September 20, 2010
This report originally appeared in the September 2010 issue of DOTmed Business News

In 1894, Dr. John Shaw Billings, a legendary physician and librarian, wrote, “The education of the doctor which goes on after he has his degree, is after all, the most important part of his education.” More than a century later, his words still ring true for health care providers, whose education is supplemented through Continuing Medical Education.

Medical professionals of all trades are required to obtain continuing education credits, but techniques and technologies in some specialties advance much faster than in others. Those who decide to go into anesthesiology and imaging choose a career that requires constant updates to the base of knowledge, whether it’s new applications on an imaging modality or a novel development in patient management while under anesthesia.

Fortunately, numerous CME opportunities are out there, and today, satisfying the requirements has never been easier.

A meeting of anesthesiologists’ minds
As professor of anesthesiology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and the Arizona state director to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Dr. Daniel Cole knows a lot about the importance of continuing education.

“We’re highly specialized physicians who take care of a patient at an incredibly critical time and try to maintain their vital health during a time when they may have other disease processes or surgeries that are essentially threatening them,” says Cole. “To be able to keep up-to-date with the most cutting-edge techniques is obviously important for patient safety and patient quality. We are always looking for performance improvement and that’s the basis of CME. We’re always looking to be better tomorrow than we are today. CME is really the vehicle by which we learn and can improve our performance.”

The society requires members to obtain a minimum of 150 hours of approved CME credits every three years. Out of the total hours, a minimum of 75 must be Category 1 hours, which are more formal educational activities, such as lectures. A quick Internet search will bring up hundreds of CME opportunities for anesthesiologists, but which options are worth it?

“I think I’m a little biased, but I think most anesthesiologists would consider the American Society of Anesthesiologists and all their particular educational offerings to probably be the preferred purveyor of credits,” says Cole. “There are a lot of other components, but probably the most popular option with the American Society of Anesthesiologists is our annual meeting that occurs every October,” he says.