Accredited CME offers physicians and other health care practitioners across the country access to the answers they need to improve public health and patient care. Whether physicians work in clinical care, research, health care administration, or other areas of medicine, accredited CME is tailored to their needs and their patients’ needs. From national conferences in big cities to grand rounds in rural hospitals to just-in-time learning at the patient's bedside, accredited CME supports public health.
What We Do
The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®), a nonprofit corporation based in Chicago, is responsible for accrediting institutions that offer continuing medical education (CME) to physicians and other health care professionals. The ACCME primarily accredits US institutions, but welcomes international applicants.
The ACCME’s mission is to identify, develop, and promote rigorous national standards for quality CME that improves physician performance and medical care for patients and their communities.
The ACCME is supported solely by accredited provider fees and workshop registration fees.
The ACCME is successful in its mission only because of its dedicated volunteers. Taking into account national-level volunteers, intrastate accreditation volunteers, and CME committee volunteers, approximately 20,000 individuals across the country work in support of the ACCME system.
ACCME Accreditation: A National Model
ACCME accreditation is a voluntary, self-regulatory system that assures the public and the medical community that accredited CME is a strategic partner in health care quality and safety initiatives, providing physicians with relevant, effective education that meets their learning and practice needs.
Accreditation standards ensure that CME is designed to be independent, free of commercial bias, and based on valid content.
The ACCME accreditation system is recognized as a national model by federal and state government agencies, other health care accrediting bodies, and the profession of medicine.
Federal agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, have included accredited CME as a strategic partner in their public health initiatives.
The ACCME has long-standing collaborative relationships with the other institutions that oversee national CME accreditation and credit systems, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Medical Association, and the American Osteopathic Association.
Accredited CME: Reaching Physicians across the Country
There are approximately 700 ACCME-accredited organizations, known as CME providers, including medical schools; nonprofit physician membership organizations, such as medical specialty and state medical societies; hospitals/health care delivery systems; publishing and education companies; government and military organizations; and insurance and managed-care companies.
The ACCME also recognizes 43 state and territory medical societies as accreditors for approximately 1,450 local organizations, such as community hospitals, state specialty societies, and county medical societies, offering CME.
In total, there are nearly 1,900 accredited CME providers, including organizations accredited by the ACCME and by ACCME Recognized Accreditors.
Each year accredited providers offer more than 148,000 activities across the country.
Accredited educational activities draw nearly 26 million health care professionals annually. These activities are offered through a variety of channels, including live meetings and courses, medical journals, and the Internet.
Physicians participate in accredited CME activities in support of their own practice-based learning and improvement. Participation in accredited CME also helps physicians meet requirements for maintenance of licensure, maintenance of specialty board certification, credentialing, membership in professional societies, and other professional privileges.
Supporting Education for Health Care Teams
The federal health care reform law and national organizations, such as the Institute of Medicine, identify team-based care as a critical component of health care improvement.
To reward organizations for offering team-focused education that improves patient care, the ACCME partnered with the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education and the American Nurses Credentialing Center to develop a joint accreditation initiative.
With the joint accreditation initiative, the ACCME, the ACPE, and the ANCC seek to assure the public that health care teams receive education that is designed to be independent, free from commercial bias, based on valid content, and effective in improving the quality and safety of care delivered by the team.
Supporting International Continuing Medical Education
Throughout the years, the ACCME has supported CME initiatives with the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education in Brussels, and with government, health system, and CME representatives from a wide range of countries, including China, France, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, the Sudan, and the United Arab Emigrates.
The ACCME recognizes four CME organizations outside the US as substantially equivalent to the ACCME’s accreditation system: the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the Committee on Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education (Canada), the European Board for Accreditation in Cardiology, and the Oman Medical Specialty Board as part of the Ministry of Health of the Sultanate of Oman.
Our History and Member Organizations
The ACCME was founded in 1981 in order to create a national accreditation system. It is the successor to the Liaison Committee on Continuing Medical Education and the American Medical Association’s Committee on Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education.
The ACCME’s founding and current member organizations are the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Association for Hospital Medical Education, the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, and the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States