Message from the CEO: Education Works—Demonstrating the Impact of Accredited CME

June 30, 2015
Posted by: 
Tamar Hosansky

JCEHP Publishes Review Summarizing Evidence about CME Effectiveness

In my interactions with stakeholders over the past few months, I’ve heard that we need to work together to continue to build a robust evidence base about the effectiveness of accredited CME and its contributions to healthcare improvement. That’s why I am so pleased that the Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions (JCEHP) has published “The Impact of CME on Physician Performance and Patient Health Outcomes: An Updated Synthesis of Systematic Reviews,” by Ronald M. Cervero, PhD; and Julie K. Gaines, MLIS, in its Spring 2015 issue.

The article reports that:

  • CME does improve physician performance and patient health outcomes.
  • CME has a more reliably positive impact on physician performance than on patient health outcomes.
  • CME leads to greater improvement in physician performance and patient health if it is more interactive, uses more methods, involves multiple exposures, is longer, and is focused on outcomes that are considered important by physicians.

In an invited editorial, Murray Kopelow, MD, Past President, ACCME, discusses the role of accreditation requirements in promoting educational approaches that are most effective in changing performance. He reminds us that performance improvement is a process—rather than an event—that includes a series of multimedia, multiformat interventions to address learners’ practice gaps.

The full report by Dr. Cervero and Ms. Gaines is published on our website, along with supplementary materials including a video interview with Dr. Cervero and Dr. Kopelow. You are welcome to share these resources with your leadership, learners, volunteers, and colleagues.

The JCEHP article, the full report, and the ACCME resources demonstrate the value of the work accredited CE providers are doing every day to make a difference in the health of our nation. In addition, these resources provide practical, evidence-based strategies that can assist accredited CE providers in designing education that will have the most impact.

Further, the resources serve as a call to action for our CE community. As the research shows, we already know that physicians can learn. We now need evidence that demonstrates the most effective means of creating and sustaining performance change and shows how education drives improvement in quality, safety, and patient care outcomes. As Dr. Cervero and Ms. Gaines recommend, future research about CME’s effectiveness needs to take into account the wider social, political, and organizational factors that affect physician performance and patient health outcomes. The accredited CE community can play a leading role in achieving these goals and the ACCME would be happy to collaborate to advance a national research agenda.

I hope you’ll join our open webinar for all stakeholders on July 7 at 1:00 p.m. Central where we can share strategies for how we can work together to advance research about educational effectiveness and promote the value of accredited CE to the broader healthcare system. I invite you to submit your questions for me before the webinar.

The ACCME will continue to be a strong advocate for CME and an ally in your efforts to research and communicate the value of your work. I look forward to working with you to communicate our shared passion for learning and the power of education to drive quality in our profession and for the patients we serve.




Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc
President and Chief Executive Officer
Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education
(312) 527-9200