Medscape CFS Course Makes an Impact
Updated March 30, 2009
In 2008 the Association secured private funding to partner with Medscape, the world’s leading source of health information for consumers and health care professionals, to develop a clinical update on CFS. Using the CFS Toolkit for Health Care Professionals as a starting point, the Association collaborated with Medscape editors and expert clinicians Lucinda Bateman, MD, and Charles Lapp, MD, to deepen clinically relevant information and augment the material with case studies and vignettes.
The course was posted on Medscape on October 9, 2008 and was marketed to physicians, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists and other clinical staff in 19 general and specialty medical professions. Through March 30, 2009, the course has attracted 15,309 professionals who have completed the program for credit, with about 52,000 reading the material for informational purposes. According to Medscape’s editorial director, “This is a fabulous number and indicates the popularity of and need for information on this topic.” By contrast, the CDC’s online CFS continuing education module issued just 1,533 continuing education certificates in its first four years of availability.
A key component of the Medscape collaboration was a study performed by Outcomes, Inc. to compare the knowledge and attitudes of professionals who took the course with a representative sample of professionals who had not taken the course. The study showed that health care providers who participated in the Medscape CME program on CFS treat an average of three patients per week with CFS and are 46% more likely to make evidence-based choices about caring for these patients, specifically in diagnosing CFS, distinguishing it from depression, helping patients maintain function through aggressive symptom management and utilizing appropriate non-pharmacologic interventions as part of a treatment program. 85% of those who took the course indicated it would change their practice.
The study also showed that completing the course had a significant impact on the participants’ confidence in diagnosing and managing CFS. The study concluded that “some 36,000 patients seen each week with CFS will benefit from improved evidence-based care provided by the professionals who have taken the course to date.”
Encourage your health care provider to take the course at http://cme.medscape.com/viewprogram/17442 (or simply tell him/her to search for “chronic fatigue syndrome” on Medscape’s CME site). While the evaluation study is now complete, the course is available for continuing education credit through October 2009.
The Association gratefully acknowledges the financial support received from a family that wishes to remain anonymous, as well as the assistance provided by Drs. Bateman and Lapp to make these popular and effective resources available to medical professionals worldwide.
The CFIDS Association is committed to educating medical professionals about the seriousness of CFS and how to recognize and treat this debilitating illness.
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