Performance Improvement CME has become all the rage in the world of continuing medical education. Otherwise known as PI CME, it is being touted by the AMA as the next big thing in medical education. You can read an AMA white paper about it here.
Not all medical specialty organizations actually require that physicians complete PI CME, but they are moving toward this. The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology now requires something similar, which they call "self-assessment" CME, and it requires a robust program of medical learning to doctors, along with a minimum of 100 CME questions. There's more to it than that--I had to learn about it in order to get Carlat Publishing approved for it.
It's fine with me, thought it is another annoying hurdle for CME providers and for doctors, but maybe in the end it will force doctors to keep their knowledge more up to date. The problem is that there are no regulations regarding who can support these new and elaborate programs. Obviously, as you can see from the screen shot above, or by following this link, Medscape is already exploiting commercial funding. This is a PI CME program called "Diagnosis and Treatment of Major Depression: Performance Improvement." It is funded by Eli Lilly, maker of the antidepressant Cymbalta. I haven't gone through the program yet, but I'm willing to bet that there will be a lot talk about pain in depression.
I hope someone out there can investigate this Lilly/Medscape joint endeavor to see whether it is biased or unbiased. Let me know your thoughts!