Translating evidence into practice: Lessons for CPD
Davis, David A.
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Background: Failure to translate best evidence into practice often generates inappropriate, unsafe, and costly healthcare.The continuing professional development (CPD) of physicians and other health professionals represents a widely underutilized strategy to improve both clinician performance and healthcare quality and safety. The evidence: Despite the clear evidence of the potential impact of CPD based in learning theory and science, some CPD providers, health systems, and clinicians themselves implement less-than-effective effective learning strategies. This phenomenon is the product of several factors: within health systems, a lack of recognition of the importance of ongoing, system-linked professional education; among CPD providers, an adherence to old but easy-to-deliver “one-and-done” methods CPD; and even among clinicians themselves, choosing less engaging learning activities, uninformed by objective performance data. Recommendation: Suggestions to improve this lack of translation of best evidence into practice fall into four groups.Academic medical institutions, employers and educators need to embrace principles and practices of self-directed learning; health systems must share responsibility for the physician learning and the performance data and feedback on which such learning is best-based; physician specialty societies and licensing boards must undertake meaningful re-licensure and re-certification processes; and CPD planners must seek out partnerships with health system leadership and quality improvement managers as they create engaging, integrated, and impactful CPD activities.