The 2006 Accreditation Criteria are founded on Shewhart and Deming’s “Plan, Do, Study, Act” model for continuous improvement. This is reflected both in those accreditation criteria that are concerned with the improvement of a provider’s overall CME program, as well as criteria that guide the provider in planning and implementing CME activities to support continuous improvement of their learners’ practice and/or patient outcomes.
In Criterion 1, the ACCME requires that CME providers have a CME mission statement that articulates the change(s)—the expected results—you want your program of continuing medical education to have. This is your “Plan”… of Plan-Do-Study-Act.
You plan continuing medical education and all of your activities are nested within your CME program, supported by the resources, staff, and methods that you implement your program with. Then, in Criteria 11 and 12 you begin the study of your success. You look at your activities and see the extent to which you’ve caused change. In Criterion 12, you look at your whole program and you ask: Is it meeting the mission? Are you accomplishing your expected results? And you say: This is where we’re strong and this is where we’re weak. Plan, Do, Study. We evaluate this program, we analyze it and in Criterion 13, you identify what’s the difference between what you’re doing and what you could be doing in your program. You create a strategic plan for what it is that you want to change about how you plan individual activities, how you plan your whole program of CME, how your program is structured from a staff example or your planning process. This approach is the “act” part of Plan-Do-Study-Act, and comprises your completion of the quality improvement cycle to continuously improve your effectiveness.