October 27, 2016

Fleming to help drive continuing medical education efforts

Geoffrey Fleming, M.D., associate professor of Pediatrics, has been named vice president of Continuous Professional Development for VUMC.

Geoffrey Fleming, M.D., associate professor of Pediatrics, has been named vice president of Continuous Professional Development for VUMC.

Geoffrey Fleming, M.D.
Geoffrey Fleming, M.D.

In his new role, Fleming hopes to transform continuing medical education (CME) among practicing physicians by recognizing the educational value of daily learning opportunities that have an impact on patient outcomes.

“Within medicine the idea of continuing education needs to undergo a substantial change. We have declined into a scenario where people are viewing their continuing education in form of attendance credits more so than changes in patient outcomes,” Fleming said.

“That was never the original intent. The original intent was continuing education to be learning that continues to improve the knowledge, skills and attitudes of the individual practitioner.”

The Tennessee state license CME requirements for physicians include 40 hours of credit every two years. The system currently emphasizes accumulating credit rather than knowledge that improves patient outcomes. Fleming hopes to change that.

“I will be part of the team that helps with the design and implementation of a radical change in the way we administer a credit and emphasize continuing education among physicians,” he said. “We are moving toward emphasizing education that happens in real time in practice. That’s not to say the hour-long lecture is not good, but it’s a passive learning experience. Some things are good to transmit in the lecture hall format, but that has become the predominant form of continuing education, whereas our office envisions continuing education that is much more real-time, hands-on, team-based learning with patient outcomes.”

Fleming earned his M.D. from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 1997. He did his pediatric internship and residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center. He did his fellowship in Pediatric Critical Care at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, University of Michigan. He is program director of the Pediatric Critical Care Fellowship training program.

At Vanderbilt, continuing education is considered an important part of the continuum of medical education, which is initiated in the undergraduate experience, progresses through graduate medical education and matures in ongoing continuing medical education and continuing professional development.

“Physicians and the health care system are addressing the challenge of providing the best possible care to patients in the most cost-effective way,” said Don Moore, Ph.D., director of the Office for Continuous Professional Development.

“Continuing Professional Development (CPD) at Vanderbilt can make important contributions to these efforts. Geoffrey Fleming has the vision, energy and leadership skills to deploy CPD resources to accomplish these goals,” Moore said.