American Hospital Association Report Describes CME as Strategic Resource

September 30, 2014
Posted by: 
Tamar Hosansky

Report Shows Hospitals View CME as Strategic Resource

"Continuing Medical Education as a Strategic Resource," a report published by the American Hospital Association's Physician Leadership Forum, describes how accredited CME can strengthen the partnership between physicians and hospitals in order to transform the healthcare delivery model and improve healthcare outcomes. The report states that "CME offers a rapid response opportunity to close competency gaps for practicing physicians," and includes examples of successful partnerships between CME, quality improvement projects, state medical societies, and community initiatives focusing on local health priorities. The American Hospital Association (AHA) is an ACCME member organization.

The report describes the scope of hospital-based CME, using data from the ACCME 2013 Annual Report. There are more than 1,100 hospitals and health systems hospitals accredited in the ACCME system. Hospitals/health systems accounted for 35% of the total number of CME activities offered in 2013, and 90% of the activities offered by intrastate providers. (These providers are accredited by state or territory medical societies that are recognized by the ACCME as accreditors.)

The report includes the results of a survey of AHA members, showing that they rated the value of CME at 4.2 on a 5-point scale. Most of the respondents who viewed CME as a strategic resource found that CME had value in addressing care coordination, implementing changes, improving teamwork, developing future leaders, driving behavior change, addressing system-based performance improvement, reaching community physicians, and reducing medical liability premiums.

The report includes recommendations for how to improve the value of CME as a strategic resource. It suggests that hospitals/health systems use CME to advance their strategic goals and establish closer links between the C-suite, those developing organizational strategic plans, and CME committees. Another recommendation is that hospitals establish stronger links between CME and quality improvement. As an example, the report explains that the ACCME, through its criteria for Accreditation with Commendation, has rewarded providers that integrate CME into the process for improving professional practice, increase collaboration among clinicians, and encourage CME within a system framework for quality improvement. The report also mentions the ACCME Proposal for a Menu of New Criteria for Accreditation with Commendation. The proposed criteria are designed to reward CME programs that address the integration of health data, interprofessional collaborative practice, individualized learning activities, and higher levels of outcomes measurement.

Among its recommendations for accreditors, the report suggests that accreditation standards should encourage team-based and interprofessional learning opportunities. As an example, the report cites Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education™, which offers organizations the opportunity to be simultaneously accredited to provide medicine, pharmacy, and nursing continuing education activities through a single, unified application process, fee structure, and set of accreditation standards. Joint Accreditation is a collaboration of the ACCME, the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

Download the report here. (Registration is required.)