Wellpoint CME focused on global health

One aim is to get clinicians used to asking patients about travel, immigration history
By Neil Versel
09:34 AM
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Health insurer WellPoint is the launch partner for an online continuing medical education program that emphasizes a global focus to diagnosing diseases.
Indianapolis-based WellPoint, which is officially changing its name to Anthem on Wednesday, is now offering "Viewpoints: Clinical Competence in a Globally Mobile World" to physicians in its commercial networks. The educational program, from Critical Measures, a Minneapolis-based consulting firm that focuses on cross-cultural healthcare, is good for six Category One CME credits.

The two companies say "Viewpoints" is the first accredited CME e-learning program in the U.S. dedicated to global medicine. While purely coincidental, according to WellPoint's Grace Ting, the timing of the launch is good because of the Ebola outbreak that has affected at least nine people in the U.S.

According to news reports, clinicians at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, initially released Thomas Eric Duncan, who died from Ebola Oct. 8, because the hospital did not have a clear policy of testing and then isolating patients who had recently traveled to one of three affected countries in West Africa.

[See also: EHR still in play with US Ebola case.]

"The ED intake process in Texas did ask the right questions," says Ting, WellPoint's director of multicultural health programs. "But there isn't a mentality that global health is important, so that information wasn't seen as important and acted upon appropriately."

It could have been Ebola, or it could have been one of the other epidemics from other parts of the world that had millions of people on edge in recent years, including Middle East Respiratory Syndrome from 2012 and the H1N1 swine flu in 2009.

WellPoint's goal of sponsoring this CME is to get clinicians accustomed to inquiring about travel and immigration history. "Our overarching theme is global background and travel," Ting says.

[See also: 5 reasons CME must (and will) change.]

WellPoint funded the development of this program, while Critical Measures provided the medical expertise and project management, according to Ting. In return, the insurance giant got first dibs on licensing the final product, which took about 3 years to develop.

WellPoint has used "Language Access and the Law," a Critical Measures CME program on cultural competency when treating patients with limited English skills, for about a year, Ting says.