Resources for Planning and Monitoring Regularly Scheduled Series (RSS)

Published Date: 
Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A regularly scheduled series (RSS) is a CME activity that is planned as a series with multiple, ongoing sessions, e.g., offered weekly, monthly, or quarterly; and is primarily planned by and presented to the accredited organization’s professional staff. Common examples of RSS include grand rounds, tumor boards, and morbidity and mortality conferences.  RSS are a way for Providers to organize, or package, a large number of educational sessions into a single activity just as medical specialty societies do for their annual meetings. Like any activity within the ACCME system, RSS are required to adhere to applicable ACCME requirements.

This page of information and resources has been compiled to provide you with convenient access to tools and education regarding the planning and implementation of RSS, as well as maintaining and presenting evidence of compliance with ACCME’s Accreditation Criteria within RSS activities.

Planning Regularly Scheduled Series

Accredited providers have the flexibility to plan and organize RSS in the manner that best meets their organization’s needs.  For example, a provider that conducts bi-weekly sessions for their “Morbidity and Mortality” case conference series throughout the year may consider all of the sessions in that series as a single CME activity. From this perspective, planning RSS activities is the same as with any other format; the activity must be planned in compliance with ACCME’s accreditation criteria (Criteria 2-11) and data/information from this activity must be a part of a provider’s overall assessment of their program of CME activities/educational interventions (Criteria 11-12) with improvements incorporated as needed to enhance the provider’s CME mission (Criteria 12-13). RSS may include approaches that address, or manifest, the ACCME’s Criteria 16-22. However, as with other types of CME activities, the ACCME does not expect every CME activity to evidence compliance with Criteria 16-22.

The first video under the Video Resources section on this page, “Exploring Regularly Scheduled Series: Expectations, Insights and Opportunities for Accredited CME,” is an opportunity to take a look at practical insights to managing regularly scheduled series (RSS) in compliance the ACCME Criteria. Learn how to utilize your institution's staff-focused series, such as grand rounds, tumor boards, and morbidity & mortality conferences, as a strategic asset to improve practice and the delivery of care.

Identifying Professional Practice Gaps for RSS

As in all CME activities accredited within the ACCME system, providers must base RSS on the professional practice gaps – or problems in practice – of their own learners.  These practice gaps may be those of individuals, the healthcare team, the population to which the learners belong, or the system in which the learners practice.   In addition, the ACCME Accreditation Criteria require providers to incorporate into their CME activities the educational need(s) that underlie these professional practice gaps.

Two of the videos below have been included in this resource to provide you with more information specifically about identifying professional practice gaps for RSS:

  • ”Do we need to have a unique professional practice gap for each session of a Regularly Scheduled Series (RSS)?”
  • "What is the professional practice gap for education on a new medical device, or for morbidity/mortality conference and tumor boards?"

Planning and Evaluating for Change in RSS

ACCME Accreditation Criteria expect that providers’ CME activities are designed to change learners’ competence (strategies), performance, or in patient outcomes (Criterion 3) and that the provider is analyzing changes in learners as a result of their activities (Criterion 11).

ACCME Notes:
CME providers that offer RSS have the opportunity to make decisions about how RSS will be planned, implemented, and evaluated in order to ensure that their RSS meet the compliance expectations of ACCME Criteria 2-3 and 5-11.  The questions below offer a perspective for providers to consider when reflecting on the planning and implementation of RSS:

  1. Who is responsible for planning your organization’s RSS?
  2. What processes do you use to plan your RSS?

For example:

  • A yearly planning meeting for all RSS where the professional practice gaps and related educational needs are identified?
  • Using an application for RSS planners who are outside of the CME office?
  • By meeting with each group or individual responsible for planning an RSS?
  1. Do the processes vary for different RSS?
  2. What support do you provide (guides, planners, etc) for the planning and implementing of RSS activities?
  3. How can your RSS support learning and change for your learners?
  4. How can your RSS support the overall goals/strategies of your organization?  Have you found ways to integrate RSS into quality improvement initiatives in your organization?

If you do engage other stakeholders, outside of the CME office, in planning RSS, you may want to view to the video below that answers the question:

  • “How can I make it easier to engage my stakeholders in the planning of accredited CME activities?”

Program-based analysis that includes RSS

Providers are expected to consider all of their activities, regardless of learning format, when conducting a program-based analysis of their overall CME Program and planning and implementing improvements (Criterion 12-13).  For providers that offer RSS, this includes looking at their RSS activities to determine how effective they were.

Simplifying Approaches to RSS

The ACCME requires accredited providers to ensure that all CME activities conducted within their program of CME meet the Compliance expectations of applicable Accreditation Criteria and Policies.  In February 2013, as a result of the initiative to simplify its accreditation requirements and processes, the ACCME removed special requirements for RSS, including a requirement that accredited providers implement a "monitoring" process to verify Compliance of RSS sessions.  As described previously, accredited providers may choose the manner in which they ensure Compliance of RSS activities with appropriate ACCME requirements - just as they do for any CME activity conducted within their CME Program.

Demonstrating Compliance of RSS during the Accreditation Process through Performance-in-Practice

Providers demonstrate Compliance with RSS activities through Performance-in-Practice evidence in the same manner as all of the CME activities planned and implemented during the Provider's accreditation term.  The ACCME offers two options for submitting Performance-in-Practice evidence in the (re-)accreditation process:

  1. Submit evidence using the ACCME Performance-in-Practice Structured Abstract

--OR--

  1. Present evidence using the ACCME’s Performance-in-Practice Review Labels for each annual series selected.

Video Resources

Below are the videos described throughout this resource page.

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Exploring Regularly Scheduled Series: Expectations, Insights and Opportunities for Accredited CME

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