Why is it that some doctors are on the cutting-edge with new treatments while others still use the tools and techniques they learned from medical school despite advancements in medicine? That’s the topic Emmy Award-winning Co-host Kym McNicholas and Interventional Cardiologist Dr. John Phillips are tackling in this week’s The Heart of Innovation show. Kym is LIVE from Italy on the heels of CLI-C, one of the most prestigious conferences in the world for treating blocked arteries in the legs, an issue which impacts one in five people over age 60, known as Peripheral Artery Disease (P.A.D.). Without proper treatment, P.A.D. can lead to amputation, stroke, and even heart attack. Only 10% of vascular specialists, whether it’s a vascular surgeon, interventional radiologist, or interventional cardiologist, are trained in advanced treatment tools and techniques to save limbs for the most complex cases of P.A.D., which we see in patients who have Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI), limb threatening artery blockages. That’s because innovation around the treatment of these patients is moving at the speed of light and physicians may not be aware of the opportunities to learn what’s new and next.
You might wonder, “How is that possible that physicians aren’t aware of what’s new and next?”
The answer is that it depends on where the physician decides to pursue their continuing medical education activities (CME).
Physicians are required to participate in continuing medical education (CME) activities to meet requirements of state medical boards, medical specialty societies, etc. for licensing and accreditation. The purpose of requiring CME credits, is to encourage physicians to main, develop, or increase the knowledge, and skills. They can earn these credits by attending live meetings, working online, or watching course recordings on a variety of topics related to patient care, community health or public health, preventive medicine, quality assurance or improvement, risk management, and more. Physicians are not required to attend specific sessions covering cutting-edge treatments
A lot of factors play into the CME activities of any physician such as their facility, society guidelines for a specific practice which may either encourage or limit interest in certain treatment approaches, personal and professional interest in new ideas, resistance to new ideas that may interfere with their standardized approach (the way it's always been done), family obligations, networking opportunities, and more. So, while all physicians may have the title of doctor, a specific specialty, fancy pedigree, or work in a prestigious facility, it doesn’t necessarily reflect their current knowledge and ability as compared to their peers.
In this episode, Kym and Dr. Phillips use the CLI-C conference as an example of a CME activity that offers vascular specialists the ability to not only hear about new tools and techniques to treat complex artery blockages in the legs, but to see them put into practice with multiple live cases that allow attendees to interact with physicians in hospitals who are treating a patient in real-time. Dr. Mariano Palena and Dr. Marco Manzi were the leading physicians for this particular course in Padua, Italy this past week. They share the importance of coming to these events to discuss and even debate new treatment options for patients. The greatest value, they say, is in the open discussions that transpire between physicians with a variety of different perspectives and then seeing a physician during the LIVE case implement the best ideas as well as the patient outcomes.
Dr. Palena, Dr. Phillips, and Kym encourage patients to use online resources, such as The Way To My Heart, to learn the most advanced treatment options for P.A.D., then search online to see what conferences physicians can attend to learn them, and see if their physician attends those conferences or ones like them to ensure they’re on the cutting-edge. Some key questions discussed during the show, which patients can ask their physician about when it comes to continuing education include:
· What are the most advanced tools and techniques available for my issue, even if you don’t offer them?
· What CME activities do you attend to learn the most advanced tools and techniques? How often do you attend them?
· What was the last meeting or conference you attended and what did you learn which you might apply in my case?
· Are you on the faculty of any advanced meetings or conferences and if so, which ones?
· Do you have any cases, studies, or publications you’ve presented at recent meetings or conferences?
Tune into the show to learn more about why it’s important for physicians to broaden their scope and attend a variety of different CME activities, as well as how a patient can determine if their physician is on the cutting edge. Also, you don’t want to miss this week’s Save My Piggies segment as author and triathlete Kevin Morgan shares his story which drives home the importance of advanced medical education. He was forced to self-diagnose when his physicians brushed off symptoms of unexplainable lower back pain. His advanced research skills as a veterinarian and pathologist led him to attribute his symptoms to an aneurysm. He independently got an abdominal ultrasound and sought a second opinion using his scans to prove his own initial diagnosis. Successful treatment for the aneurysm has kept him on his feet competing as a triathlete and inspiring others through his blog at www.athletewithstent.com.
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