On a Mission: To Clinical Excellence
- By Lois Brown
- Jun 01, 2011
Changing healthcare behaviors and practice in the United States
can at times be viewed as a slow and painful process.
Despite the ever-growing body of scientific evidence that is intended
to objectively direct care and treatment, much of the practice of medicine
is a delicate blend of art and science. Depending on the discipline and
the treatment, some are still weighted in art over science.
As we push toward outcome-oriented healthcare, pay for performance
and other mechanisms attempting to improve (or maintain) the
quality of clinical care while concurrently lowering the overall cost of
the care, myriad obstacles appear along that path.
Information Overload for Today’s Clinicians
For many of today’s busy practicing clinicians, keeping up with
the growing science, regulatory complexities, reimbursement cuts,
clinical protocols and technological advancements can be pretty
There are literally hundreds of peer-reviewed journals producing thousands
of papers per month, so keeping up with the latest published
research in one’s discipline is essentially impossible for most clinicians.
Add to this the ever-changing coverage rules and regulations
governing Medicare, Medicaid and other third-party payors, along with
the rapid advancements in drugs and medical technology, and it is
pretty easy to see where the gaps in education and training can often
start to form.
In the past, many clinicians relied on attending the large regional
or national clinical conferences as their primary method of obtaining
continuing education. However, in the modern world of down-sized
departments and shoestring education budgets, many organizations
have little or no funding set aside to assist clinicians with conference
attendance and continuing education.
With the increase in International Seating Symposium attendance
figures this year, it is clear that those clinicians who can attend often
do so using their vacation days and at their own personal expense.
As a result, newer, more cost- and time-efficient clinical education
Changing Clinical Environments Lead to New
Major communication advances such as the Internet and other forms of
interactive media have provided new vehicles for taking clinical education
out of a single classroom or convention center to clinicians working
all around the world.
In years past, nearly all of the clinical content experts came from
traditional academic medical and research environments, and large
clinical or academic settings. Today, many of the leading clinicians and
researchers work in a variety of settings, including working for pharmaceutical
and medical technology manufacturers
— which only makes sense. Much of the country’s medical research
and science comes from private
industry, and inside such organizations
are some excellent and experienced
clinicians and academics.
The current state of the economy
makes it ever more difficult to both
afford courses and find time in
crowded schedules to take them,
but they’ve never been more crucial.
Educators must find ways to keep
courses affordable and to work with
clinicians’ schedules, whether online
or after hours, so we can maintain
that level of clinical excellence. And
we must recognize the wider scope of
education needed, including management and patient- and caregiverfocused
Knowledge has never been more important. Across the continuum,
we must be dedicated to promoting, delivering, seeking and learning
relevant clinical education.
Our commitment to clinical education and the importance of patient
outcomes as an industry will help change our external perception. The
development and provision of clinical education programs and lectures
is only one facet. A clinical focus should be refl ected in new product
development, clinical research and publications, sales training, clinical
marketing, industry advocacy and customer education and support.
Making this as relevant, but also as seamless as possible will ensure
that the quality of clinical care is paramount.
This article originally appeared in the June 2011 issue of Mobility Management.
Lois Brown, MPT, ATP, is the rehab clinical education specialist for Invacare Corp., Elyria, Ohio. She is a frequent presenter on seating & mobility topics at industry events.