Effectiveness and sustainability of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses are a major challenge. For the first time a Commitment-to-Change (CTC) strategy was applied by Doris Straub Piccirillo, MME Unibe, Head of CK-CARE CPD, within the course “Allergy in everyday paediatric practice”. This helped participants to put into practice what they had learnt on the course and also helps in programme planning. In addition, the question of why paediatricians alter their practice behaviour after the course was explored in a qualitative study.
It requires more than pure knowledge transfer for doctors to change their behaviour in practice as a result of CPD. Although today’s CPD events increasingly focus on the learners and are becoming more targeted in other ways, it remains a challenge to translate the acquired knowledge into everyday practice. One of the reasons for this is that typically CPD courses are not directly linked to changes in the attending physician’s behaviour or to patient outcomes.
Consistently employing a CTC strategy offers a new solution in this respect. CTC is based on a pragmatic, uncomplicated and easy-to-use model which makes the user more aware of personal goals and values and also provides incentives for action.
In English-speaking countries CTC has proved a successful means of stimulating processes of change, but in German-speaking Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) this strategy is a new tool in medical CPD. Doctors take part in CPD programmes for a wide variety of reasons: to consolidate existing knowledge or keep up-to-date with the latest knowledge, to acquire new knowledge or learn new skills, to coordinate procedures and practices or simply to meet their obligation to undertake CPD. They invest time and money to do this. Therefore CPD programmes should basically be structured, effective and designed with a view to achieving sustainable improvements.