Albert Einstein once said “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of minds to think”.
We’re bombarded with facts every day and in a heavily regulated industry like healthcare, it’s imperative that healthcare professionals stay at the forefront of a rapidly evolving landscape in order to practice effectively and safely. This is where CPD comes in.
In this blog post, we take a look at the benefits of providing online CPD to healthcare professionals and we’ve also included some top tips if you’re looking to embark on an online CPD project within your organisation.
What is CPD?
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a way of describing a range of learning activities that help professionals maintain and develop their skills throughout their career.
The CPD Standards Office describe it as “Intentionally developing the knowledge, skills and personal knowledge needed to perform professional responsibilities”.
The number of commercial online CPD providers is ever-increasing with a huge variation in the quality of resources available. Some reassurance can be gained if the provider has been accredited by organisations such as the CPD Standards Office (www.cpdstandards.com) or The CPD Certification Service (www.cpduk.co.uk).
Online CPD for healthcare professionals
Moving away from the traditional CPD model of events, training and coaching; e-learning is fast becoming the preferred option for busy healthcare professionals as it provides:
- Convenience – Healthcare professionals are often expected to meet their CPD requirements in their own time – the provision of online modules means they have the flexibility to carry out CPD anywhere, on any device at a time of their choosing. They can plan their learning around their existing commitments so more time can be spent attending to patient needs.
- Cost effectiveness – Online CPD provides the ability for healthcare professionals to enhance their knowledge without the cost of travel, accommodation and sustenance expenses.
- Real-time interaction – Delegates can often see the results of their CPD activities and download their certificates immediately.
So, what are the commercial benefits of providing online CPD resources?
CPD resources are generally provided by commercial organisations, including professional associations, which rely on revenue to keep them going. So understanding the commercial benefit of providing online CPD to healthcare professionals will help put together a business case for implementation ensuring that a project of this nature is an investment, not a cost.
Commercial benefits include:
- Greater reach – By providing CPD resources online, organisations can reach healthcare professionals regionally, nationally and sometimes even internationally.
- Opportunity to convert leads, up-sell or cross-sell – By looking at the provision of online CPD to healthcare professionals as a sales opportunity, you can focus your attention on how to convert a visitor to a customer/client or maintain/increase the interest and loyalty of existing customers.
- Data collection – By collecting data from your audience in order to provide them with CPD resources, you have the opportunity to build up your database and communicate with a larger audience on a regular basis.
- Cost effective – Providing online CPD vs the traditional model of information delivery can promote huge cost savings; once content has been created and the software developed, the cost of delivering content online is nominal in comparison to hiring venues, trainer costs, printing costs etc.
If you’re looking to start providing online CPD resources, we would urge you to consider the following:
- Decide on your commercial model – The cost of CPD varies quite significantly with some resources being freely available. You may want to provide your CPD for free if you’re able to drive traffic through to other areas of your business model and generate sales that way. OR, you may wish to place a value on the CPD resources you provide which in turn generates a sustainable revenue stream.
- Consider your content plan – Ensuring your content is relevant and of a high quality will entice people back for more and increase the chance of referrals between healthcare professionals. Many organisations choose to invite high profile guest contributors to provide or edit their content which can give it gravitas and kudos.
- Work out the end to end process – Consider what information you are going to provide to the healthcare professional and the format of the resource available i.e. do they have to take a test? At the end, it’s useful to provide a certificate as proof of the work they’ve undertaken for submission to their professional body.
- Promote your content – there is no point providing a valuable resource to healthcare professionals if they don’t know about it so make sure you target the right people to shout about your all the wonderful sources of information you have available!
- Analyse and improve – Once you’ve created your online CPD resources and people are starting to use them, don’t just leave them there to become out of date – ensure you have a review policy and procedure in place. You can also set up Google Analytics on the online system to track and monitor how people are interacting with the information so that you can identify usage trends to inform improvements.
If you’re considering providing online CPD resources and looking for inspiration, we may just have the ticket!
- Isopharm – free CPD for dental professionals to drive e-commerce sales
- The British Healthcare Business Intelligence Association (BHBIA) – Online training modules for those supplying business intelligence services to the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry