New CME provider eschews industry money

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Medical Marketing & Media‘s Marc Iskowitz profiles a new continuing medical education provider, Lighthouse Learning.

Started by a Harvard neurologist and an executive, both with former ties to CME firm Pri-Med, along with a third partner, Lighthouse Learning receives no funding from pharmaceutical or device companies for the development of its curricula. Instead, the business model relies exclusively on licensing content nationwide, to medical societies, insurers and meetings companies.

Most American physicians are required to earn CME credits to maintain their licenses. These are often industry-sponsored, but while Lighthouse is in the headlines, it’s not alone. Iskowitz again:

Lighthouse’s funding model is not without precedent, though, said Dr. Murray Kopelow, executive director of the Accreditation Council for CME. He told MM&M that 772—or 35% of the 2,225 ACCME-accredited providers submitting data for the 2009 ACCME annual data report—took neither commercial support nor advertising/exhibit income for their educational programs. A total of 943 providers, or 42%, accepted no commercial support. Many of these are providers accredited by state medical societies, and it’s not known whether any of them operate on a national scale, as the council has not analyzed data in this regard.

Notable psychiatry (and COI) blogger Daniel Carlat has taken notice of the new company as well, noting that coverage of its launch shows that conflicts of interest in CME are officially mainstream news.

The Boston Globe broke the story in this article on their front page, which is in itself significant. It means that mainstream journalists understand that the funding of medical education is no longer an arcane topic that is of interest only to a few insiders.

Carlat also provides a little context on one of the company’s founders and his CME past.

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