In healthcare, where every decision and action can have a direct impact on the lives and well-being of patients, the importance of continuing education cannot be overstated. Medical practice is evolving rapidly, with new discoveries, technologies and protocols emerging every day. In this dynamic context, continuing education becomes a vital necessity for healthcare professionals in order to keep their expertise up to date, improve their skills and ensure optimal care for their patients. It is an ethical and legal obligation, but also an ethical obligation if we stick to the Hippocratic Oath: “I will perfect my knowledge to best ensure my mission”. 

The Negative Consequences of a Lack of Updating Medical Skills

The lack of continuing education among health professionals leads to several concrete problems. Studies, like the one conducted by Aribi and colleagues in 2018, show that practitioner skills can quickly become obsolete. This distances them from new medical and technological advances, increasing the risk of medical errors. For example, research by Abdelaziz et al. (2003) highlight how this lack of training can lead to the use of outdated methods, affecting the quality of care. 

In addition, the lack of adaptability to changes in the sector is worrying. According to Perez (2009), new technologies, such as artificial intelligence and telemedicine, require ongoing training to be properly integrated. Studies, such as that of Reis et al. (2022), highlight how this stagnation can reduce the quality of care, thus putting patients at risk. Furthermore, this situation negatively impacts job satisfaction, as demonstrated by research by Aribi et al. (2018), who establish a link between lack of training and the risk of burnout among healthcare professionals. In summary, it is crucial to invest in continuing training to maintain quality care and guarantee the competitiveness of professionals on the job market. 

Legal and Ethical Risks Associated with Lack of Continuing Education among Health Professionals 

Each medical practitioner is required to maintain and improve their knowledge by actively participating in continuing education programs, as stipulated in the Code of Medical Ethics in France (Bertrand & Lai Fat, 2006). This duty, also linked to the evaluation of professional practices, was mainly a moral obligation until it was formalized in legislation (Bertrand & Lai Fat, 2006). The codes of ethics of the various health professionals set obligations in terms of continuing training. For French doctors, this is article 11 of the code of ethics, or article R.4127-11 of the public health code which stipulates: “All doctors maintain and improve their knowledge in compliance with its obligation of continuing professional development” It is therefore an obligation for all doctors registered with the Order. Thus, a doctor who does not undergo continuing education may be exposed to several risks: 


How to solve this problem: Solutions and Recommendations for Effective Continuing Education in the Medical Sector  

Despite its importance, participation in continuing education can be hindered by various obstacles that can come from a variety of sources that are worth overcoming. 

Healthcare professionals are often very busy, making it difficult to find time for training. In addition, some do not see the point in further training or lack the motivation to do so. Training costs can also be high, making access to these programs difficult for some (Al-Sheikhly et al., 2023). Language and cultural barriers can also be a problem, as training resources are not always available in the appropriate language or culture. Additionally, the lack of recognition for continuing education efforts can discourage healthcare professionals. Finally, age can be a barrier, as older people may have difficulty adapting to new technologies or be less motivated to train (Al-Sheikhly et al., 2023). 

In relation to these different issues, we propose the following solution approaches: 

 In short, continuing medical education concerns all doctors regardless of their mode of practice and constitutes one of the main tools for improving the quality of care. However, several obstacles can hinder their access to this crucial training. To overcome these challenges, solutions exist to create an inclusive and equitable work environment, supported by supportive human resources policies to help encourage participation by all. By investing in these initiatives and adopting a collaborative approach, healthcare institutions can ensure that their professionals are constantly trained and prepared to meet the complex challenges of modern medical practice, ensuring quality care for all patients. 


By Ariel Maxence Dadjo, MD, Msc, Public Health Specialist