MANUSCRIPT: Learning to collaborate: a case study of performance improvement CME 
Performance Improvement Continuing Medical Education (PI CME) is a mechanism for joining quality improvement (QI) in health care to continuing medical education (CME) systems together. Although QI practices and CME approaches have been recognized for years, what emerges from their integration is largely unfamiliar, because it requires the collaboration of CME providers and stakeholders within the health care systems who traditionally have not worked together and may not have the same understanding of QI issues to close performance gaps. This study describes how an academic institution and a community-based primary care practice collaborated to enhance patient care in the area of hypertension. It offers lessons learned from a PI CME activity in the area of hypertension.
This was an observational case study. Data were collected through interviews, observations of educational events, and review of documents such as learning logs, which were designed to: (1) help physicians learn and change, (2) satisfy requirements for CME credit, (3) serve as the basis for reimbursement, and (4) provide data for the case study.
Nine clinicians from one clinic completed the PI CME activity, achieved measurable improvements in their practice, and contributed to systems change. The study highlighted (1) the value of shared goals and agreement on the process among the participants, planners, and others involved; (2) the advantage of a multidisciplinary approach; (3) the importance of supporting clinicians’ continuing motivation to participate; and (4) the need to allow sufficient time to enable the initiative to evolve.
PI CME required unprecedented collaboration between CME planners and QI stakeholders to enable change in clinical practice.