Statement of Task

An ad hoc IOM committee will undertake a review of issues in continuing education (CE) of health care professionals that are identified from the literature and from data-gathering meetings with involved parties to improve the quality of care. Based on this review, the committee will consider the establishment of a national interprofessional CE Institute to advance the science of CE by promoting the discovery and dissemination of more effective methods of educating health professionals over their professional lifetimes, by developing a research enterprise that encourages increased scientific study of CE, by developing mechanisms to assess research applications, by stimulating new approaches to both intra- and interprofessional CE, by being independent and composed of individuals from the various health professions, and by considering financing (both short and long term).

of CE.” In response, the foundation asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to review issues related to the continuing education of health professionals and to consider the establishment of a national interprofessional institute dedicated to improving CE (see Box S-1). The IOM appointed the Committee on Planning a Continuing Health Care Professional Education Institute. In this report, the committee examines CE for all health professionals,1 explores development of a national continuing education institute, and offers guidance on the establishment and operation of such an institute. In order to add perspective to its deliberations, the committee examined a number of possible alternatives to an institute, and the report describes some of the pros and cons of the various options. The report provides five broad messages:

  • There are major flaws in the way CE is conducted, financed, regulated, and evaluated. As a result, the health care workforce is not optimally prepared to provide the highest quality of care to patients or to meet public expectations for quality and safety.

  • The science underpinning CE for health professionals is fragmented and underdeveloped. These shortcomings have


Health professionals were identified here as those health care practitioners and technical occupations classified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that require baccalaureate or higher degrees for licensure.

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