I have just returned from presenting on EthosCE at the 35th Annual Alliance for Continuing Medical Education Meeting in New Orleans, LA. The meeting was wonderful and our presentation was well-attended. My colleague, Logan Thomison, from OptumHealth Education, a division of United Healthcare, and I were invited to present on the emerging role of Web 2.0 and open source software in the CME enterprise. We focused the discussion on our experience implementing EthosCE Learning Management System across OptumHealth’s CME enterprise. EthosCE is a full-featured, open source learning management platform that integrates two industry-leading, open source software applications: Drupal Content Management System and Moodle Learning Management System…”Best of both worlds combined.”
During our presentation, I discussed our development and deployment process and the broad set of features that the Drupal-Moodle combination brings to the CME enterprise. Key points included:
- Browser-based content authoring and learning management tools.
- No annual licenses or limitation on the number of users or learners.
- Web 2.0 and social media features.
- Standardized CME workflow for registration, assessments, evaluations, and certificate management.
- Personal CME transcripts.
- Streamlined “back-office” administration tools.
- Standards-based data exchanges, Web services, and outcomes reporting.
- Completely customized “learner experience”, Web design, and navigation.
- And, complete access to the application source code.
Logan presented on his goals and evaluation process for selecting an open source application vs. a proprietary learning management platform. He cited his own analysis showing costs associated with each model over Years 1-3. The data showed that the cost of using an open source learning management system, such as EthosCE, was much lower over three years when he accounted for the annual license fees associated with proprietary software. Similarly, Logan stated that it was very attractive for his organization to retain complete access to the EthosCE source code and have the ability to host the platform internally. A former proprietary software engineer himself, he readily admitted that proprietary software does have its place. However, after conducting an evaluation of OptumHealth’s goals and needs, he concluded that open source software was the way to proceed.
We concluded our session with a very spirited discussion about the role of Web 2.0 and open source applications, such as EthosCE, in addressing some of the challenges facing today’s CME organizations. Main discussion points focused on compliance with ACCME’s reporting requirements, Web services and data exchange formats (eg, state medical boards, national boards, 3rd party partners), financial disclosure management, staffing requirements, e-learning, and social media.
We would like to thank all of those people who participated in our session and the Alliance for CME for inviting us to present at this wonderful conference. Hope to see everyone next year and present some new data on our open source and social media experiences and data in the CME enterprise.