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What is CPD ?


Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

This activity consists of “educational activities which serve to maintain, develop, or increase the knowledge, skills, and professional performance and relationships that a health professional uses to provide services for patients, the public, or the profession. The content of CPD is that body of knowledge and skills generally recognized and accepted by the profession as within the basic medical sciences, the discipline of clinical medicine, and the provision of health care to the public.”

Continuing Medical Education (CME).

CME refers primarily to the process of gaining the new knowledge and skills through various educational modalities. An issue that deserves clarification is the distinction between continuing professional development and continuing medical education. Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, they describe different concepts. Continuing professional development for physicians refers primarily to an ongoing and lifelong process of progressively updating and improving of the physician’s knowledge, skills, and competencies used in his or her medical practice by keeping pace with the development of new scientific knowledge and concepts, and innovations in medical care. In contrast, CME is the primary means by which the goals of CPD can be attained, rather than the ultimate outcome. The desired result of CME is a progressive change in practice behavior and attitudes, and the development of new skills and competencies which reflect new medical knowledge—in other words, continuing professional development. The real objective of CME is a progressive behavioral change in individual medical practice, and this objective should guide the development of CME standards, evaluation, and monitoring.

CPD Activities.

This includes all activities that enhance professional competence and lead to better delivery of health care, and usually includes a focus on one or more critical skills or values, such as the implementation of best practice recommendations for clinical care or community practice, quality improvement, new and improved procedural skills, improved communication skills, bioethics, leadership and management, patient safety issues, and medical computer applications. These activities can be varied, and they are generally divided between group and individual activities. The group activities include not only the well-known group lecture or conference/seminar, but also skills workshops, formal journal club discussions, morbidity and mortality conferences, patient chart reviews, etc. The individual activities accepted by many national and international organizations commonly include journal reading (especially if accompanied by a self-assessment at the end) ; medical teaching activities ; preparation and presentation of a lecture, paper, poster or other scholarly work ; or clinical research activities. The CPD activities for individuals are, by nature, more difficult to quantify and validate, but they are recognized to be of value in professional development, and are therefore included as recognized CPD, although often with some limitations.

CPD Provider.

This is an institution, organization, or group that is accredited by the Rwanda Medical and Dental Council to develop and provide CPD activities as well as to issue certificates of CPD completion under the authority of the accrediting body, i.e., the Medical Council. These providers—such as faculties of health sciences, specialty divisions of the Ministry of Health (MOH), or associations for health professionals—have the expertise to produce and assume responsibility for CPD activities at a local or national level. These providers often delegate the actual implementation of CME to recognized CPD organizers that work under the direction of the CPD provider.

CPD Accreditation.

This is the status conferred by the Rwanda Medical and DentalCouncil to a CPD Program and/or activity based on compliance with established standards of planning, content, and delivery. It is a process used to ensure that CPD activities meet acceptable educational standards and have scientific merit.responsibility for CPD activities at a local or national level. These providers often delegate the actual implementation of CME to recognized CPD organizers that work under the direction of the CPD provider.

CPD Accreditation Standards.

These written directives describe the required quality, elements, responsibilities, and expected levels of performance of a specific CPD activity.

Provider Accreditation Standards.

These are the written directives that describe the academic quality, organizational skills, and ethical levels of performance required of a CPD provider to be authorized to provide CPD on behalf of and with the authority of the Rwanda Medical and Dental Council. CPD Provider Accreditation. This is the status conferred by the Rwanda Medical and Dental Council to CPD Providers (as described above), based on written standards of academic and organizational excellence, that authorizes them to identify training needs ; organize, implement, and administer CPD to selected groups of physicians ; and issue Certificates of Completion with the authorization and approval of the Rwanda Medical and Dental Council. This accreditation is generally reviewed and renewed on a periodic basis to ensure continuing excellence in CPD development and implementation.

Category I CPD Activities.

Formal, highly structured learning opportunities (usually the responsibility of specialists). Examples include lectures, performance-based learning (PBL) tutorials, and workshops, practical or clinical training, etc.

Category II Activities.

Essentially self-learning undertakings that are usually conducted locally for individuals or groups. These include journal clubs, teaching health professionals, using computer and Web-based instructional materials, conducting research, etc.

Self-Learning Activities.

Arrangements made by an individual health professional to update his or her professional competence, for example by conducting research, participating in distance learning activities, reading medical publications, etc.

CPD Credit Unit.

Someone participating in a Category I CPD activity for one contact hour will earn 1.0 CPD credit. Participation in a Category II activity for one contact hour merits 0.5 of a CPD credit.

Contact Hour.

The period, measured in hours, during which the participant actively participates in a formal or self-learning CPD activity.


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