How to find the ROI of your CME Programs


Are you lowering production costs and raising attendance costs for your Continuing Medical Education (CME) programs this year? If not, you should be using another method to ensure your CMEs provide a good return on investment (ROI).

A few tried-and-true techniques are to offer a program that attracts a new audience, provide an online program that can be completed at any time, or align your program with a major conference or event. The average U.S. physician in 2015-2016 was allotted a $3,633 stipend for CMEs. In order to determine how your CME stacks up in value, analyze a similar successful program offered by a competitor.

Calculating ROI on CME Programs

Certifying a large activity can cost between $5,000 and $10,000. It requires two independent physician reviewers beyond your business. Since your base budget for a large activity is already high, any big activities should be compelling. They should showcase data or methods that attract a high-paying audience. You can also consider funding large or expensive CMEs with a grant proposal to a pharmaceutical or medical device company. Smaller activities that involve online components, from webinars to articles to quizzes, can have a lower budget. Such activities may attract a new customer base.


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Tactics to Find ROI on Your CME Programming

Traditional methods of calculating a ROI involve creating a spreadsheet to show the amount you will need for initial cash outlay weighed against the returns. It is helpful to determine the minimum return that your company requires. Most companies have several such returns, set at different points in time.

In order to apply the ROI determination method to CME programming, first examine the popularity of the CME's topic. Also, model anything that seems risky on a program that has turned a profit. Lastly, do not overlook the value of positive attention and beneficial relationships that occur as a result of the CME.

You can estimate your return by determining which medical professionals are eligible to submit your program for credit to their licensing organization. Then assess how you are advertising the program. If your program is valuable to medical professionals outside the U.S., consider spreading the word about your program through that country’s press and major social media outlets. As your program gathers interest, track the number of sign-ups.

What to Gain From Finding ROI

Finding your ROI for your past programs should involve mapping ROI for your current and future programs, which allows you to create a database of your progress, hits and misses. Your evaluation can show you what you’re making the most money on, what you’re losing the most money on and where you should invest more for next year. You should also look at similar CMEs from other providers to see if you can offer registration incentives.

In addition, it’s helpful to review how your different CMEs stack up. The cost of a live CME course varies considerably from a webinar of a past CME course with readings and quizzes attached. Consider offering the most popular CME material in different forms. This way you will have gotten the most value possible from utilizing your resources to create the program. If you’re concentrating on online learning, see if you can find a way to include a peer learning component into the program. Health care organizations see peer interaction and discussion as valuable. You may want to consider creating live and online CMEs that are related by topic and/or attendees. This allows the entity overseeing the physicians to find value in having their staff attend both programs. Your business will also be seen as a company that offers CME programs that encourage face-to-face encounters and observable professional development.

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