The answer depends on the requirements of the certifying board. For ABIM, ABA, ABO, ABOHNS, and ABPath, you may offer learners the opportunity to earn different numbers of credits for the same activity, depending on their engagement with the activity. You may also offer different types of credit, based on the activity, and learners’ engagement with the activity. To determine what specific credit combinations learners may earn, please refer to the relevant board’s program guide.
For ABP, all learners participating in the same activity must currently earn the same number of MOC credits.
Reporting Maintenance of Certification (MOC) points for an accredited CME activity is a straightforward two-step process.
- First, an accredited CME provider registers the activity in ACCME's Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS) – https://pars.accme.org – for a participating specialty board's MOC program.
- Once the activity is registered in PARS, the second step is for the CME provider to enter and submit learner completion data into PARS.
Each specialty board has its own guidance for calculating the number of MOC points/credits available for an activity. See the FAQ pages for specific boards to determine the number of MOC points/credits for the activity that you are registering for MOC.
There are three options available to you for registering an activity for MOC in PARS.
Accredited providers may use the web fill form in the PARS interface to complete the specific questions required to register the activity for MOC. Providers may also use the XML batch activity upload method and include the specialty board’s MOC registration data in the XML upload file. This same XML format can be used to register activities via ACCME’s web service. For more information see Technical Information for Submitting Data via Batch Upload or Web Services.
You cannot batch upload the MOC registration information for activities using the tab-delimited option. If you enter the general information for activities required by PARS via tab-delimited text batch upload, the specialty board’s MOC registration fields must then be completed individually via the web form for any activity that you wish to register for MOC.
We encourage CME providers to submit participant data as soon as possible after the activity is completed, so that each specialty board can apply the points/credits to physicians' records.
Please note: Many board certified physicians need to complete their MOC activities by December 31 in order for the MOC points to count toward any MOC requirements that are due by the end of the year. To that end, providers should report participant completion data by December 31 to ensure that the MOC points count towards this year’s requirements.
PARS will be open to accept learner data through March 31 of the following year, after which time that reporting year will be closed for both activities and learner completion data. For activities that span multiple years, learner data can be reported in that next year's activity.
Providers are encouraged to register their activities for MOC as far in advance of the activity start date as possible. This allows learners to find the activity on www.cmefinder.org. It also allows providers to enter participant data quickly after the event occurs. For information about activity registration deadlines, please see the relevant board’s program guide.
You should collect the following information for each board-certified physician (diplomate) in order to report their participant completion data in PARS:
- Date of completion
- Diplomate’s specialty board-assigned ID (Diplomates who do not know their number can retrieve it from lookup tools available on their specialty board’s website or by contacting their specialty board directly.)
- First name
- Last name
- Date of birth (month/day)
This information is used to ensure that the data is accurate and valid, and associated with the correct board-certified diplomate when it is being reported to the board.
If the participant data submitted via PARS does not match the information in a diplomate's specialty board record, PARS will not be able to confirm the participant’s identity and will not accept the completion record. The provider will be notified immediately via a validation error message in the PARS interface or in the batch upload report, depending on what data submission method is being used. The provider will subsequently need to enter corrected data to submit the record successfully.
As a benefit of registering CME activities for MOC using ACCME’s Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS), accredited providers agree to have information about their activities made available to the public via ACCME’s CME Finder search tool (www.cmefinder.org). CME Finder is a resource for board certified physicians to search for accredited CME activities that are available for MOC through the collaboration between ACCME and several specialty boards, including the ABA, ABIM, and ABP.
For CME activities that are not open to the public (e.g., activities available only for employees of the provider’s organization), the provider can indicate that registration is "limited" when registering the activity in PARS. On CME Finder, such activities will be listed as “limited,” letting learners know that registration for the activity is limited to a specific audience and not open to all physicians.
When you submit participant completion data, PARS will verify the participant's information against simple validation rules, and if verified, will transmit the record to the specialty board(s) for further validation. After the specialty board(s) completes its validation of the data, the participant record status will change to "accepted" or "rejected" within 24 hours. If a record is rejected, you will be notified via email, and the reason for rejection will appear in PARS. Depending on the reason for rejection, you may be able to correct the data and resubmit.
Multiple-choice questions can be used in a variety of ways. They are typically used as mini-case simulations that present a clinical vignette and a question (the "lead in") followed by a discrete range of possible responses, one of which is correct. These can be readily scored using audience response systems, computer score sheets, or manually. Instructions for writing effective multiple-choice items can be found at http://www.nbme.org/publications/item-writing-manual.html.
Fill-in-the-blank questions refer to items that are completed by the learner(s). The format includes a leading statement with a missing word or words that are then completed by the learner(s). These responses can be collected using a variety of methods, including audience response systems or evaluation forms.
Written responses can be responses to a variety of prompts. The questions can be as broad as "What would you do differently as a result of what you learned?" and "What will you keep doing or stop doing as a result of the learning that has occurred?" to more narrowly focused questions such as "What would you do next for this patient in this situation?" Those written responses can be evaluated for concordance to an ideal response. When appropriate, it may be adequate to have the learner write a meaningfully reflective statement.
Board certified physicians should see MOC points/credits reflected in their physician portal within 24 hours of the providers submitting the participant records in PARS.
Shared responses refer to the dialogue that is shared among participants in a discussion group. For example, this might be an appropriate assessment method when learners work collaboratively through a case, or come to a shared resolution to an ethical problem. The accredited provider should be attentive to what is said and by whom, and observe for individual learner participation, engagement, and contributions.
Longer form tests refer to assessment instruments that comprise several different testing modalities, such as multiple-choice items, items that require the learner to draw a process, and/or fill-in-the-blank written or spoken responses. An answer key is essential in order to use this modality effectively.
Feedback can be provided in several ways. Evaluation results can be used as feedback. This is best achieved by correcting misconceptions and incorrect responses, showing learners the correct or optimal response, and providing an explanation as to why the correct answer is the best. This can be done live and at the same time as the activity, or asynchronously. During a live activity, a case conversation where faculty share with learners the appropriateness of the decisions they made and the appropriateness of the case outcome can be considered feedback to participants.
A passing standard can be set according to the intent of the evaluation. The passing standard is determined by the provider. When using a post-test as part of evaluation, the activity planners and/or faculty can determine the minimum number of items that the learners would need to answer correctly to demonstrate that they have adequately absorbed the content of the activity.