Pros and Cons of CME Enduring Materials 

CMEList June 29, 2021

Navigating the complex world of CME can be confusing. With so many providers and options available, it can be difficult to select an activity that works for you. Many providers offer enduring materials to help practitioners fulfill their CME requirements. What are enduring materials, and are they the right choice for your needs?

What are Enduring Materials? 

Enduring materials are CME activities that endure over a specified time and does not have a specific time or location designated for participation. Examples include recorded presentations, podcasts, and online interactive educational modules. After completing an enduring material at your own pace, you will likely have to take an assessment to prove that you retained the material presented in the activity and then submit it to receive a CME certificate indicating full completion. 

Pros of Enduring Materials

Anywhere, Anytime 

One of the reasons clinicians love enduring online materials is because they can complete them at their own pace; anywhere, anytime. For example, if you chose to earn CME via a podcast, you can listen to in on your commute, during your meals, during break periods, or other daily activities. Enduring materials are ideal for clinicians who have highly variable schedules and do not want to commit to earning CME at a specific time or place.  

All At Once or In Multiple Sessions 

Enduring materials are flexible in that they give clinicians the option to dictate the pace in which they complete the activity. They can complete the activity all at once during a long session or spread out their learning and earn their credits in bite sized sessions. It Is important to note that most medical boards have deadlines physicians must meet to maintain their licenses and certifications. 

Affordable Cost 

If you’re not looking to spend too much of your own money or CME allowance on CME, enduring materials are the perfect option. CME providers price their enduring materials appropriately, often offering a generous amount of credits in relation to the cost. This is an often-better option for clinicians with a lower annual budget than some of the pricey in-person conferences that are held. 

No Memberships 

Gaining access to enduring CME materials is extremely easy. Usually, you simply purchase the CME activity or sign up to get access to it. You don’t need to be a part of any specific organization or have a membership anywhere. Watching a recorded webinar that might have once been limited to certain members of an organization are sometimes made available to whoever wants to purchase and watch the recorded event to earn CME. 

Choose Your Own Topics 

With enduring online materials, you can pick and choose the topics that interest you as a clinician. Want to learn more about emerging topics in urgent care? That’s an option. Want unlimited access to peer-reviewed articles where you get to pick and choose the ones that interest you most? That’s an option too. The choice is completely yours when earning CME with enduring online materials, so you can stay interested and learn about the topics that relate to you most. 

No Travel Necessary 

Given that enduring materials do not need to be completed at a specific place, there is no travel necessary. In-person CME activities can be a hassle for many physicians by requiring them to take time out of their schedule to travel and be away from work, family, and friends. With enduring materials, clinicians can earn CME at their convenience, anywhere they want. 

Gift Card Incentives 

A popular reason why clinicians prefer online enduring materials is because some of them come with a bonus incentive like an Amazon or Visa gift card or sometimes a high-value gadget like an Apple Watch or iPad. These are great choices if you have a CME allowance, as you can usually get reimbursed for these gift cards, depending on your organization’s rules. 

Covered by Employer CME Stipend 

Every year, many clinicians are given a CME allowance by their hospital or organization. This fixed allowance allows clinicians to buy and earn CME without spending their own money. As some CME programs can be quite expensive, this is very beneficial and encourages clinicians to look at any option that will improve their skills and help them complete their requirements, regardless of cost. Most enduring online materials are covered by this CME stipend, making them the perfect CME option if you have a CME allowance.  

May Also Cover MOC Recertification 

Some enduring online activities can earn you both CME and Maintenance of Certification (MOC) points. This makes the process of earning MOC easier. 

Cons of Enduring Materials

Self-Motivated Approach

Considering that enduring online materials give you free rein to complete it at your preferred time and place it is completely up to you to make sure you finish the activity in time to submit it. If you find yourself falling behind, consider being more diligent when making your schedule. 

No Networking Opportunities 

Enduring materials are typically individualistic activities and provide little opportunities to network with your peers. As a result you may miss out on learning about best practices that can improve your own patient care and processes. 

Doesn’t Cover Cutting-Edge Topics 

Enduring online activities are sometimes made up of previously recorded videos or podcasts, slideshows, or articles that are not updated often. Because of this, they will most likely not cover emerging or cutting-edge topics in your field.