Location, Location, Location: Designing CE to Address Real-Time, Local Healthcare Needs

Track: Innovation

Session Number: 2033
Date: Tue, Sep 26th, 2017
Time: 4:00 PM - 4:45 PM

Description:

The health and welfare of many residents of rural communities in the United States (US) is diminishing as a result of skyrocketing rates of injection drug use. Without a robust harm-reduction infrastructure in place, several regions have recently witnessed an unprecedented rapid increase in infectious diseases associated with unsafe injection practices including exponential increases in acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections. For example, between 2006 and 2012, the rate of new HCV infections increased 364% among individuals aged 30 years or younger in rural regions of Appalachia; 73% of these infections were linked to injection drug use. More recently, a single rural county in Indiana reported 174 confirmed cases of HIV in the 7 months; for context, 5 cases were reported in the entire 12-months of 2014. In review of this epidemic, experts suggest that several signs illustrating an intensifying epidemic were present prior to the identification of the new HIV infections.

Many warn that another HIV outbreak similar to the one that struck rural Indiana is not a remote possibility for other communities in the US. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the results of an analysis identifying 220 counties nationwide, most in rural areas, with the same dangerous mix of opioid misuse, poverty, and scant availability of healthcare resources that are driving rising rates of acute HCV infections among injection drug users and contributed to the Indiana HIV outbreak.

Certified continuing education is well positioned to support the evolving needs of rural healthcare providers that practice in regions hard-hit by the nation’s opioid epidemic. However, the optimal path forward for the development of relevant education to facilitate positive change in rural communities struggling with opioid misuse and the associated consequences of injection drug use is not one that takes a “one-size-fits-all” approach by relying on national prevention and care efforts developed in urban areas of the country. Rather, education that focuses on local needs and local harm-reduction solutions, informed by the experiences of other rural clinicians who have overcome similar barriers with existing resources and healthcare infrastructure in their own communities, is needed to engage clinicians and mental health providers in a relevant, meaningful way and effect tangible practice changes in the prevention and treatment of HCV and HIV in rural America.

This session will engage participants in a discussion about two different case studies of certified continuing education initiatives that focused on improving the prevention and treatment of HCV and HIV in rural regions of the country with high rates of prescription opioid misuse. These case studies illustrate the critical role of the continuing medical education enterprise in arming healthcare professionals who practice in resource-limited rural settings with the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure optimal health outcomes for patients in their communities. We will discuss how the educational opportunities for these particular settings were identified as well as explore different approaches to educational design and development to close local practice gaps. Importantly, this session will also discuss how to evaluate and understand the unique needs of rural healthcare clinicians. The overall goal of the session will be to provide attendees with best-practice recommendations to incorporate into their own planning processes that outline how certified education can be leveraged as a powerful tool to support clinicians’ on-the-ground efforts to address their communities’ local health crises.
Session Type: Presentation

Learning Objective 1: Describe the rationale for continuing education interventions that specifically address the needs of rural healthcare providers
Learning Objective 2: List specific approaches to instructional design that increase the relevance and impact of continuing education developed for rural clinicians
Learning Objective 3: Apply strategies that increase the relevance of continuing education initiatives focused on rural settings to one’s own platform design process
Session Type: Presentation

Learning Objective 1: Describe the rationale for continuing education interventions that specifically address the needs of rural healthcare providers
Learning Objective 2: List specific approaches to instructional design that increase the relevance and impact of continuing education developed for rural clinicians
Learning Objective 3: Apply strategies that increase the relevance of continuing education initiatives focused on rural settings to one’s own platform design process