This is our seventh annual meeting and it came about from the need for the different stakeholder groups in European CME to get together to actually discuss issues of the day and how it relates to them and to understand each other’s opinions in order to make CME better in Europe.
What are the key elements that have been discussed?
The need to continue the dialogue; right from the beginning six years ago when we started with our first meeting, we had quite simple challenges in that it could have just been issues of nomenclature, just the different words that we used for similar things in medical education. Now we’re finding that the challenges are more related to the regulatory environment in Europe; the challenges that pharma companies and industry in general face when they want to support CME activities in Europe, the rules are getting much stronger for them. The accreditation bodies are wanting to improve standards, they’re looking at setting standards for quality and the requirements for accreditation. The accreditors are now understanding that there are regulatory challenges and actually I proposed at the beginning of the meeting that Europe could be in a regulatory vacuum and the different stakeholders are behaving in strange ways, different ways, and to have a meeting like this where we can actually evaluate each other’s opinions and situations to better understand the challenges that people in these different groups are facing and then each stakeholder group can at least move forward in a productive way.
What are the most important changes happening at the moment?
I’m feeling much more positive now than I did two days ago. In planning a meeting like this, talking to the individual groups, I did actually pose at the beginning of the meeting a question – is European CME in crisis? And actually having two days of dialogue and seeing that the different groups are willing to listen to each other and to start encompassing their challenges and discussing ways in how to improve this actually has given me much grounds for optimism.
All our information is freely available, open-access, at www.europeancmeforum.eu. All the information of our previous meetings are there as well as the meeting next year, our 8th annual meeting taking place in Manchester November 2015.