Utilizing Geriatrics-Focused Web-Based Continuing Education to Reach Practitioners in Rural Practice
TLRPTIL Volume 62, Number 3, ISSN 8756-3894
Continuing education (CE) provides community healthcare practitioners an opportunity to develop and maintain competence after their initial training is complete. With increasing clinical demands and limited resources for practicing community providers, the need for easily accessible, high-quality continuing education is in growing demand. Also, given the aging of the U.S. population, CE that addresses the complex care needs of older adults is of critical importance. These CE opportunities are particularly needed in rural areas where physicians typically maintain a single-physician private practice and are unable to leave their patients to attend in-person CE. Unfortunately, access to CE with geriatrics-focused content can be challenging in rural communities where opportunities may be limited and access to administrative, financial, and technological resources and/or support are minimal (Hendrickx and Winters 2017). To meet this identified need, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Geriatric Education Center (GEC) and UAB Reynolds Program partnered with the UAB Division of Continuing Medical Education (CME) to develop enduring interprofessional geriatrics education modules (i-GEMs), a web-based geriatrics-focused CME curricula to be disseminated through a previously established on-line portal with 1000+ community physician members. The UAB GEC and Reynolds Program recognized the need for geriatrics-focused CE for other health professionals and worked with the Division of CME to expand the portal to include CE opportunities for additional healthcare professionals (examples include nurses, occupational therapists, physician assistants, and social workers). To ensure that participants of UAB GEC and Reynolds Program curriculum were able to locate the developed content, a geriatrics-specific sub-portal was established. With the expansion of the CME portal, the UAB GEC also identified that to create versatile and interprofessional content, a different approach would be required to develop i-GEMs that would applicable to all targeted healthcare professionals. To meet this new need, the UAB GEC incorporated the development of i-GEMs as a scholarly project into their year-long faculty development program to establish a pipeline for ongoing geriatrics-focused IPE modules. This paper describes the development of the interprofessional CE content, the partnership between the UAB GEC and Reynolds Programs with the Division of CME, as well as the utilization of the i-GEMs by practicing healthcare professionals.
Ford, C.R., Sawyer, P. & Brown, C.J. (2018). Utilizing Geriatrics-Focused Web-Based Continuing Education to Reach Practitioners in Rural Practice. TechTrends: Linking Research and Practice to Improve Learning, 62(3), 286-295.