AMA WA CPD home will cut costs for docs

4 minute read

Doctors have until January next year to choose whether to jump ship from their college and try out CPD with a new organisation.

Earlier this year, the AMA WA branch emerged victorious from a pool of nine organisations vying to become the first non-college accredited CPD home.

Now, it’s almost ready to open its doors.

Under the new CPD regime, all doctors must nominate a CPD home by January 2024.

The home itself has to be an AMC-accredited organisation that provides a monitored CPD program and coordinates CPD activities with a system for record-keeping.

All 16 medical colleges were automatically accredited as CPD homes, and any doctors who are doing CPD programs with one of the colleges will automatically meet the requirement to have a CPD home.

Non-college organisations can apply, but so far just one has been accredited: the WA branch of the AMA, which owns DoctorPortal Learning.

DoctorPortal Learning, which is simply trading as CPD Home, is expected to go live later this week.

So, why AMA WA and not AMA national? Turns out, the westernmost offshoot of the association just happens to have a knack for commercial ventures.

It currently operates several wholly-owned subsidiaries, including a financial services business, a medical products business, training services and a recruitment service.

DoctorPortal Learning was originally set up by the federal AMA in 2015 to allow doctors who wanted to self-manage and self-report their CPD to do so.

When the requirement to have a CPD home was announced, AMA WA chief operating officer Dr Amit Vohra saw an opportunity.

“The two things that absolutely stuck out was that this is a core service to doctors, and at the end of the day we always prefer to work in an environment where we are directly offering services to doctors,” he told The Medical Republic.

“Strategically, we said, this is a long-term investment in us being able to provide better support to all doctors, not just members.”

The service will be available to all doctors, with no requirement to be an AMA WA member, or even an AMA member.

For non-AMA members, calling DoctorPortal Learning their CPD home will set them back around $880, with AMA members eligible for a 50% discount.

“We believe that, by far, this is the lowest in the market and very competitive … we see this as a service, not as an opportunity to make money,” Dr Vohra said.

It’s not necessarily expected to draw a big crowd, with the bulk of Australia’s 73,000 specialists expected to remain with their current college, but Dr Vohra anticipates that it will fill a market gap.

“Specialists have a structured CPD environment in which they’ve operated for very long time, but there’s a large cohort of doctors – we think circa 25,000 to 30,000 – [who] are not part of a specialty training program, they’re not part of a college,” he said.

“They’re typically in the hospital system, they might be in that PGY3 to PGY7 range, service registrars, they might be locums, they might be IMGs, they might be non-VR doctors.”

According to Dr Vohra, because these doctors are “scattered across the health system”, they will likely find it comparatively difficult to transition to a structured, CPD environment.

He is also anticipating being able to take advantage of the large amount of content and CPD material already on the market.

“There are hundreds of education providers in the market, and a lot of them have been delivering very high-quality education for a number of years and a lot of their content has been accredited by various colleges,” Dr Vohra said.

“We’ve taken the view that, if there’s an existing accredited course that’s been already out in the market and has been accredited by any of the specialty colleges, we will accept that.”

In other words, DoctorPortal Learning will not require any of the education providers to re-accredit courses or modules in order to be accepted.

More non-college CPD homes are expected to be accredited throughout the year.

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