Controlling quality in CME/CPD by measuring and illuminating bias

J Contin Educ Health Prof. Spring 2011;31(2):109-16. doi: 10.1002/chp.20114.


Introduction: There has been a surge of interest in the area of bias in industry-supported continuing medical education/continuing professional development (CME/CPD) activities. In 2007, we published our first study on measuring bias in CME, demonstrating that our assessment tool was valid and reliable. In light of the increasing interest in this area, and building on our experience, we wanted to further understand the application of this tool in different environments. We invited other CME/CPD providers from multiple sites in Canada to participate in a second CME bias study.

Methods: A new steering committee was established with representatives from 5 academic CME/CPD offices nationally, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the College of Family Physicians of Canada to outline the project in terms of review of the literature, refining items on the tool, updating the training guide for implementation, and establishing a resource Web site for reviewers. Training involved a train-the-trainer session with the event coordinators at each of the 5 participating centers via videoconferencing.

Results: The content reviews from the study showed moderate inter-rater reliability (ICC = 0.54), and the live reviews showed poor overall inter-rater reliability; however, one center achieved substantial inter-rater reliability (ICC = 0.68).

Discussion: The analysis from this study suggests that the tool can be used as a part of a multistage process to introduce quality control mechanisms to help raise standards for CME/CPD. It is imperative to develop a cost-effective standardized training protocol that can be implemented at all sites to maximize the reliability of the tool.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Conflict of Interest*
  • Curriculum / standards*
  • Disclosure
  • Education, Continuing / standards*
  • Educational Measurement / standards*
  • Health Care Sector
  • Humans
  • Observer Variation
  • Quality Control
  • Reproducibility of Results