Framework for Simplification of Requirements for Accredited CME Activities Certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™


Based on feedback from the community and a comprehensive review of the AMA PRA Category 1 Credit requirements, the American Medical Association (AMA) Council on Medical Education and Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®) have aligned their expectations for accredited CME activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Reflective of the AMA and ACCME’s shared values, the alignment is designed to encourage innovation and flexibility, while ensuring that activities are independent and educationally appropriate. Accredited CME providers can introduce and blend new instructional practices and formats appropriate to their learners and setting, as long as they abide by the core requirements. CME providers may designate an activity format as “other” if it does not fall into one of the established format categories, without asking permission from the AMA. For these activities, providers can designate credits on an hour-per-credit basis, using their best reasonable estimate of the time required to complete the activity. The ACCME will modify the Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS) to enable providers to enter “other” as an activity type.

The alignment contains the following elements:
A. Core requirements for activities
B. A limited number of format-specific requirements

A. Core Requirements for Activities

Please note: The core requirements are aligned with ACCME requirements and do not represent any new requirements for accredited providers. If providers meet ACCME requirements, they will be deemed to have met the core requirements.

1. The CME activity must conform to the AMA/ACCME definition of CME.
2. The CME activity must address an educational need (knowledge, competence or performance) that underlies the professional practice gaps of that activity’s learners.
3. The CME activity must present content appropriate in depth and scope for the intended physician learners.
4. When appropriate to the activity and the learners, the accredited provider should communicate the identified educational purpose and/or objectives for the activity, and provide clear instructions on how to successfully complete the activity.
5. The CME activity must utilize one or more learning methodologies appropriate to the activity’s educational purpose and/or objectives.
6. The CME activity must provide an assessment of the learner that measures achievement of the educational purpose and/or objective of the activity.
7. The CME activity must be planned and implemented in accordance with the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support: Standards to Ensure Independence in CME Activities.

B. Format-specific Requirements

If the learning modality is an enduring material, journal-based CME, or performance improvement CME, the accredited provider must ensure the following format-specific requirements are met:

1. Enduring materials will provide access to appropriate bibliographic sources to allow for further study.
2. Journal-based CME will include one or more peer-reviewed articles.
3. Performance improvement CME will:

  • have an oversight mechanism that assures content integrity of the selected performance measures. If appropriate, these measures should be evidence-based and well-designed.
  • provide clear instruction to the physician that defines the educational process of the activity (documentation, timeline).
  • provide adequate background information so that physicians can identify and understand the performance measures that will guide their activity and the evidence behind those measures (if applicable).
  • validate the depth of physician participation by a review of submitted PI CME activity documentation.
  • consist of the following three stages:
    • Stage A: learning from current practice performance assessment. Assess current practice using the identified performance measures, either through chart reviews or some other appropriate mechanism.
    • Stage B: learning from the application of PI to patient care.  Implement the intervention(s) based on the results of the analysis, using suitable tracking tools.  Participating physicians should receive guidance on appropriate parameters for applying the intervention(s).
    • Stage C: learning from the evaluation of the PI CME effort.  Reassess and reflect on performance in practice measured after the implementation of the intervention(s), by comparing to the original assessment and using the same performance measures. Summarize any practice, process and/or outcome changes that resulted from conducting the PI CME activity.