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Redesigning Continuing Education in the Health Professions
would build consensus on research directions, set standards, and support the development and strengthening of research methods and the research workforce itself. Determining the success of these efforts will require developing measures and evaluation tool kits for research on knowledge, performance, outcomes, and gaps.
The CPDI should promote interdisciplinary and interprofessional research to integrate research being conducted in all health professions, other areas of health care (e.g., quality improvement, information technology, management and policy), and other relevant disciplines (e.g., adult learning, systems improvement). As noted in Chapter 5, other countries leading in CPD research could also be valuable collaborators. Best practices and theories may be gleaned from nonhealth-related industries, such as accounting, education, engineering, law, and transportation (see Appendix D).
Current funders of pertinent research will continue to solicit proposals and to award research grants; however, coordinating research areas with other organizations via the CPDI can enable funders to target their funds more effectively. Such collaboration could result in a CPDI that pioneers new, more effective forms of inquiry that would build on current methods. The CPDI should periodically identify gap areas, solicit proposals, and fund research to fill these gaps.
The National Quality Forum (NQF) is a model for a networking function that is similar to the objectives of the CPDI—i.e., providing an environment for researchers, professional societies, stakeholder organizations, and the government to learn from each other and exchange needs and desires to further the research agenda. Such a learning network would mirror the breadth of the CPDI and include the broad spectrum of researchers (from novice to expert), clinicians, and educators in all settings.
Science of CPD
The science of CPD must be considered along with research on CPD effectiveness. The science of CPD includes the theories and assumptions on which hypotheses and models of learning are developed. These theory-based frameworks are fundamental for formulating strong research questions. Inquiry into the science of CPD must include the science of measurement and the science of evaluation.
Both quantitative and qualitative methods can be applied to understanding the CPD continuum. For example, randomized controlled trials may not be appropriate for determining whether clinical guidelines change clinician behavior; instead this may require multi-