Executive Summary of December 2013 ACCME Board of Directors Meeting Now Available
ACCME Board of Directors Convenes Guest Discussions Regarding Technology and Innovation in Education and Practice
Providers Achieve Joint Accreditation™
Year-End Reporting Deadline Reminder; PARS Improvements
Tips and Tools
Compliance Reminders from Recent Accreditation Reviews
Education and Outreach
Registration Open for New and Improved April 2014 Accreditation Workshop
2013 ACCME State/Territory Medical Society Conference Focuses on CME Accreditation Leadership
ACCME Participates in Keynote at ACEHP Annual Conference
ACCME Hosts Luncheon Discussion for Accreditation Surveyors
Professional Development Opportunities
Join the Team of ACCME Volunteer Surveyors
For Your Reference
"ACCME Responds to Pew Conflict of Interest Report," Published by MeetingsNet/medical
"ACCME Responds to JAMA Articles Slamming Medical Communication Companies," Published by MeetingsNet/medical
"Transforming Professional Medical Education: Role of FDA," A Presentation by Douglas C. Throckmorton, MD
In Case You Missed It
The ACCME Report, December 17, 2013; Video Interviews: Creating a Culture of Safety
The ACCME has released the executive summary of its Board of Directors meeting, held December 5–6, 2013 at its Chicago offices. The ACCME ratified 56 accreditation and reaccreditation decisions. This included 25 CME providers that received Accreditation with Commendation (44 %), which confers a 6-year term of accreditation. The list of accredited providers on our Web site has been updated to reflect the December 2013 accreditation decisions.
The Board reviewed accreditation decision trends from November 2008 through December 2013. The ACCME has reviewed 894 providers using the 2006 Accreditation Criteria. The proportion of CME providers achieving Accreditation with Commendation has increased, from 3% of providers in the November 2008 cohort to 44% in the December 2013 cohort. The proportion of CME providers receiving Accreditation with a progress report has dropped over this period, from 51% in the November 2008 cohort to 19% in the December 2013 cohort.
Download the executive summary.
The ACCME Board of Directors convened discussions with invited guests about the application of social media in medical education and the effect of new technologies on current and future learners. The goal for the discussions, held during the December Board meeting, was to better understand how the ACCME accreditation system might support enhancements to the future learning environment. Member organization liaisons joined the discussion.
The invited guests were Christian Dameff, Medical Student, University of Arizona College of Medicine; Marshall (Mark) Smith, MD, PhD, Medical Director, Clinical Education and Innovation, Banner Health; Jack B. Stubbs, Associate Program Director, Center for Research in Education and Simulation Technologies, University of Minnesota Medical School; Jeffrey Tully, Medical Student, University of Arizona College of Medicine; and Curtis Whitehair, MD, Associate Medical Director, Regional Physiatry, MedStar National Rehabilitation Network.
The sessions included demonstrations of how electronic, mechanical, and digital simulation is used in continuing professional education. The participants discussed their perspectives on how the evolving technologies can support healthcare professionals’ continuing professional development and performance improvement, contributing to patient safety and healthcare quality. They explored how CME needs to evolve in order to meet the lifelong learning needs of a generation that has grown up with digital technology. The discussions are part of an ongoing series convened by the Board to support the strategic imperative to foster ACCME leadership and engagement.
Four more providers have received Joint Accreditation™ : Audio-Digest Foundation, OptumHealth Education, Baystate Health, and Geisinger Health System. With these decisions, there are now 14 jointly accredited providers.
The Joint Accreditation program was launched in 2009 by the ACCME, the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Joint Accreditation offers organizations the opportunity to be simultaneously accredited to provide medical, nursing, and pharmacy continuing education through a single, unified application, fee structure, set of accreditation standards, and review process. Joint Accreditation is the first and only program in the world offering this benefit to providers committed to interprofessional continuing education.
ACCME-accredited providers: To meet your year-end reporting deadline, you must complete entering data for your 2013 activities and complete your 2013 program summary in the Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS) by March 31, 2014.
Please note: These instructions apply only to ACCME-accredited providers, not to providers accredited by a state medical society. Some Recognized Accreditors (state medical societies) are using PARS for their providers. Intrastate providers should check with their accreditor for information.
PARS Improvements for 2014
Beginning with the 2014 Reporting Year, the ACCME has added an optional activity-related question that gives providers the opportunity to identify which competencies an activity was designed to address. You will see this question when you enter new activities for 2014. If you choose to provide this information, you will be asked to select from a list of competencies including ACGME/ABMS, Institute of Medicine, Interprofessional Education Collaborative, and Other.
This question will produce information that supports Accreditation Criterion 6, which says that the provider develops activities in the context of desirable physician attributes. The ACCME added this data element in response to requests from stakeholders including the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). This data will enable the ACCME to inform the stakeholder community about the extent to which the competencies are addressed by accredited CME.
In addition, we have made modifications based on feedback from accredited providers in order to improve the user experience. We have improved navigation when searching for and editing activities using the Web-fill form, increased the speed for generating user reports, and added a function enabling providers to filter the “Download All Activities” report by reporting year.
PARS Improvements for 2015
The ACCME is continuing to identify potential improvements to PARS based on feedback from accredited providers and other stakeholders. For the 2015 reporting year, we are considering enhancements that may include removing data collection fields that have not been shown to add value, developing fields that will add more value, and changing the optional fields to required fields. Discussions are underway about adding fields that would allow the reporting of participant data in 2015. When the plans are finalized, we will notify accredited providers about the changes to give you time to prepare.
For more information and links to educational resources, please visit our About PARS Web page.
Tips and Tools
When we conduct accreditation reviews we seek to identify recurring issues that need to be brought to the accredited provider community’s attention for correction. We bring the following examples and resources to your attention in order to support your efforts to meet ACCME requirements.
Commercial Interest Definition
Please read – and check to ensure that your organization is in compliance. The ACCME expanded the definition of commercial interest in 2007; however, in 2014, the ACCME is finding that some providers may not have incorporated the expanded definition into their processes. The current definition reads: "A commercial interest is any entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients." Some providers have not added “marketing, re-selling, or distributing” to their processes and tools. CME providers must use the complete definition.
Failure to use the complete definition could cause an accredited provider to:
- partner with an ACCME-defined commercial interest;
- collect incomplete information related to the relevant financial relationships of those in control of content; and therefore
- not resolve all conflicts of interest; and/or
- not disclose all relevant financial relationships to learners.
This could lead to one or more noncompliance findings in Criterion 7 (Standards for Commercial Support 1, 2, and 6). Some providers that have recently been reviewed have received notice of our concerns. Other providers would be wise to evaluate their processes and determine if they have also failed to include the complete definition.
Ensuring Independence in CME about Discovery/Research
The ACCME recognizes that it is important for accredited CME to include reporting about discovery and research and appreciates that providers face complex challenges when determining how to integrate this content into accredited CME while safeguarding independence. The ACCME has issued guidance for these circumstances. If you include employees of ACCME-defined commercial interests as faculty or planners in accredited activities that address the commercial interest’s research, you must have a rigorous system of internal controls in place to ensure independence—or your organization will be found in noncompliance with Criterion 7 (Standard for Commercial Support 1.1–Independence).
For more information, including links to tools, sample forms, and Q&A, please see Resources for Implementing the Standards for Commercial Support.
Education and Outreach
Registration is open for the ACCME's April 2014 CME as a Bridge to Quality™ Accreditation Workshop scheduled for April 9–11 in Chicago. We are pleased to announce that we are offering new features and formats in 2014 in response to attendees’ feedback and to meet your individualized learning needs.
Designed for all levels, from CME novices to masters, the Accreditation Workshops offer participants the opportunity to work closely with ACCME staff, national CME leaders, and colleagues to learn practical strategies for complying with accreditation requirements and positioning CME as a Bridge to Quality within their organizations.
Special Features for 2014
- More interaction: We’ve reduced the number of didactic sessions and included more discussion time, vignettes, cases, and examples throughout the workshop.
- Small group discussions: Integrated throughout the workshop, these sessions give you the opportunity to build on the information presented at the general sessions and discuss strategies for improving your CME program with your peers.
- Learner-Centered Breakout Sessions: Choose two breakouts on topics of specific interest to your organization and explore these issues with your colleagues.
- Public Health Imperatives Forum: Explore opportunities for your organization to contribute to public health improvement. Read about the Public Health Imperatives Forum we offered in April 2013.
Pre-Workshop Optional Sessions
- Self-Study for Accreditation: This session will be offered by invitation only for providers that are seeking initial accreditation or expecting their next reaccreditation decision in July 2015, November 2015, and March 2016. We will send information to eligible participants in February 2014.
- Newcomers Introduction to Accredited CME: Designed for participants involved in CME for one year or less, this session will introduce you to CME basics, enabling you to get the most out of the workshop.
For more information or to register, click here.
Questions? Please contact Saifra Khan, Coordinator, Education and Outreach, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments from Participants at Previous Workshops
- “I appreciated the discussion and enthusiasm of the faculty, the spirit of collaboration and encouragement, the intent to help committed providers succeed in the accreditation process, and the balance between effective planning, documentation, and adherence to the requirements to be an accredited provider."
- "I had several 'a-ha' moments during this course. I found it extremely valuable. It was an opportunity to step back and start looking to improve and strengthen our program."
- "I have been working with CME activities for five years and wish I would have attended a workshop like this years ago! It really helped me gain a better understanding of all the criteria and it doesn't seem as daunting now...I think this would be a great course to take every two years just to stay updated and to keep reinforcing the information."
- “The opportunity to hear from—and meet—the representatives of the federal government was a tremendous opportunity for me. It was really amazing to think that they were taking [time] from their busy schedules to speak with accredited CME providers. For me to be able to go back and tell the leadership of my institution that these government agencies want us to help address these public health problems is very empowering.”
- "As a newcomer to CME, I had a very positive experience with the conference. I appreciated the variety of session styles as well as breakout sessions to discuss practical application of ideas. Overall, I felt the program was well-balanced and helped me to develop my ability to be a critical thinker about the role of CME in my organization, so I can take my work beyond merely filling out our required forms, etc. I now have a framework for understanding CME to take it to a new level in my organization."
The 2013 ACCME State/Territory Medical Society Conference, held December 11–12 in Chicago, drew record attendance—60 participants from 41 ACCME Recognized Accreditors. The conference was the culmination of a year of engagement and collaboration between the ACCME and Recognized Accreditors (state/territory medical societies recognized by the ACCME as accreditors of intrastate CME providers).
The conference theme was “Reflecting on Leadership and Performance in the National CME System.” Participants discussed how accredited CME at the state level is a force for changing practice and improving health. They explored how the national CME system has demonstrated leadership through its support of public health initiatives and has contributed to advancing interprofessional education through the Joint Accreditation™ program.
Guest speaker Ann C. Beal, MD, MPH, Deputy Executive Director and Chief Officer for Engagement, Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), explained how her organization helps people make informed healthcare decisions and improves healthcare delivery and outcomes. She discussed the opportunities for collaboration between accredited CME and PCORI.
Several sessions focused on Maintenance of Recognition and the Markers of Equivalency. The ACCME shared detailed data that has been gathered through the Maintenance of Recognition process about the Recognized Accreditors’ processes and decision-making. The ACCME Board of Directors adopted Maintenance of Recognition in 2011 in order to improve the quality, value, and efficiency of the recognition process and to enable the ACCME and Recognized Accreditors to identify areas for improvement on an ongoing basis.
The conference included the presentation of the 2013 Rutledge W. Howard, MD, Award for Individual Service to the Intrastate Accreditation System, awarded to K.M. Tan, MD. The award recognizes Dr. Tan for his contributions and commitment to advancing community-based CME programs and the intrastate accreditation system.
Kate Regnier, MA, MBA, Deputy Chief Executive and COO, ACCME, participated in a keynote session at the Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions (ACEHP) Annual Meeting, held in January in Orlando. During the interactive keynote, Ms. Regnier and her co-panelists discussed the future of healthcare education and accreditation as a driver of quality. Ms. Regnier described how accredited CME has been integrated into Maintenance of Certification® (MOC) and Maintenance of Licensure (MOL). She explained the growing emphasis on Joint Accreditation™ and how it supports interprofessional collaborative practice. There are increasing opportunities for continuing professional education to demonstrate its responsiveness and effectiveness, she said, because the US government has recognized CE as a strategic asset to public health initiatives, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) for Extended-Release and Long-Acting Opioid Analgesics.
Ms. Regnier was joined on the panel by representatives from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), and the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA).
The ACCME hosted a luncheon discussion for ACCME accreditation surveyors during the Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions (ACEHP) Annual Meeting, held in January in Orlando. The event was attended by more than 50 stakeholders, including ACCME volunteer surveyors, members of the ACCME Accreditation Review Committee, and staff and volunteers representing Recognized Accreditors.
Dion Richetti, Director, Accreditation and Recognition Services, ACCME, discussed the accomplishments surveyors made during the previous year. Thanks to surveyors’ contributions, the ACCME made 172 accreditation, reaccreditation, and Joint Accreditation decisions in 2013. To support this decision-making, 108 surveyors conducted 166 accreditation interviews. The accreditation decision-making process involved reviews of more than 2,060 performance-in-practice files from accredited providers.
The ACCME asks providers to complete evaluations regarding their experience with the accreditation process and uses this feedback to analyze its current practices and make improvements. Surveyors were provided with data reflecting feedback from each of the three 2013 cohorts, which showed that 90% or more of provider respondents reported positive experiences. Providers reported positive experiences regarding surveyors’ preparation and communication skills, and stated that surveyors maintained their appropriate role as data gatherers and treated them with respect during accreditation interviews.
The ACCME asks surveyors to fill out questionnaires about their experience with the accreditation interview process. This feedback helps the ACCME provide support to volunteer surveyors. Mr. Richetti shared the feedback with surveyors, which showed that 97% or more of surveyor respondents reported that they had a positive experience. They reported that the scheduling process was easy, that they were given adequate time to prepare for and conduct the interview, that ACCME staff answered their questions clearly, and that the ACCME surveyor training provided the necessary skills. Mr. Richetti also presented surveyor feedback regarding the Accreditation Compliance Review System (ACRS), which was implemented in 2012 in order to simplify and streamline the process for accredited providers and accreditation surveyors. The data shows that 97% of surveyors found the ACRS easy to use.
Steve Singer, PhD, Director, Education and Outreach, ACCME, welcomed the new volunteer surveyors. He reported that the ACCME trained 14 new surveyors in 2013 and looks forward to training more new surveyors in 2014. Training sessions for new and experienced surveyors are held throughout the year. The ACCME welcomes applications for new surveyors. Visit the Volunteers Web page for more information.
Professional Development Opportunities
If you are an experienced CME professional looking for a professional development opportunity, consider applying to join the ACCME team of volunteer surveyors. The ACCME accreditation system is supported by a national pool of volunteer surveyors made up of CME professionals from all provider types, ensuring that CME providers are evaluated by their peers. Surveyors include physicians, CME and other healthcare professionals, and educators.
ACCME surveyors play a critical role in the accreditation process. In return for their donation of time and expertise, surveyors receive the opportunity to learn from their colleagues, gain a broader understanding of the CME environment, and contribute to continuous improvement in the accreditation system.
You can nominate yourself or a colleague. For more information about surveyor qualifications and the application process, please visit our Volunteers Web page.
The ACCME public call for comment about the proposal to simplify the accreditation requirements and process is open through January 31, 2014. Read more about the call for comment in our news release. We appreciate the responses we have received and look forward to receiving more comments.
ACCME-Accredited Providers: Your 2014 ACCME annual accreditation fee is due by January 31, 2014. Invoices were mailed in November and early December, and we thank those of you who have made your payments. Invoices are addressed to the person designated by your organization as the billing contact. To view your organization’s contact information (including the billing contact), please login to the Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS). The 2014– 2015 fee schedule is posted here.
Please note: This information applies only to ACCME-accredited providers, not to providers accredited by a state medical society. Intrastate providers should check with their accreditor for information regarding accreditation fees.
- “ACCME Responds to Pew Conflict of Interest Report,” by Sue Pelletier, published by MeetingsNet/medical, December 19, 2013, features a Q&A with Murray Kopelow, MD, ACCME President and CEO, commenting on the Pew Charitable Trusts Report “Conflict of Interest Policies for Academic Medical Centers: Recommendations for Best Practices. ” Dr. Kopelow describes the successful, widespread adoption of the ACCME 2004 Standards for Commercial SupportSM: Standards to Ensure Independence in CME Activities as “one of the great successes of medical education in the 21st century.” He notes the federal government’s recognition of the value of the Standards in safeguarding independence and points out that only 18% of activities presented by ACCME-accredited providers received commercial support in 2012.
- “ACCME Responds to JAMA Articles Slamming Medical Communication Companies,” by Sue Pelletier, published by MeetingsNet/medical, December 29 2013, includes comments from Murray Kopelow, MD, ACCME President and CEO, about an article and accompanying editorial that appeared in the December 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association: "Medical Communication Companies and Industry Grants” and “Medical Communication Companies and Continuing Medical Education: Clouding the Sunshine” (subscription required for access). Dr. Kopelow says that the article “presents a misleading, inaccurate, and imbalanced picture of accredited continuing medical education and the stringent requirements in place to safeguard its independence.”
- “Transforming Professional Medical Education: Role of FDA,” A presentation by Douglas C. Throckmorton, MD, Deputy Director for Regulatory Programs, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) given via telephone at Transformint Professional Medical Education, a conference organized by Duke Clinical Research Institute on December 10, 2013, states that CME is “an essential part of staying informed as a practitioner” and is “an essential part of the continuum of physician medical education.” Dr. Throckmorton described the role of CME in the FDA Extended-Release and Long-Acting (ER/LA) Opioid Analgesics Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS). The FDA is an ACCME-accredited provider.