PARS Improvements for Reporting of 2015 Activity and Program Data

June 26, 2014
Posted by: 
Tamar Hosansky

PARS Enhancements for 2015 Reporting Year

The Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS) is now open for data entry for the 2015 reporting year and as we previously announced, you will find we have made some changes in PARS for this 2015 reporting year. The deadline for completing data entry for the 2015 reporting year is not until March 31, 2016 but we are making this announcement now in order to give you time to prepare and to familiarize yourself with the changes. As always, you can enter basic information about an activity before it has taken place and complete the entry after the activity. There are no changes involved in opening activities.

Purpose of Changes

Since the ACCME opened PARS four years ago, we have been implementing improvements based on feedback from accredited providers and other stakeholders. For the 2015 reporting year, we are eliminating some data requirements that have been difficult to standardize and have not been shown to add value. We are adding data fields and changing some of the optional fields to required fields in order to collect information that will increase the value of PARS for accredited providers and other stakeholders. This information will support alignment with stakeholders involved in physician continuing professional development, such as the credit, licensure, and certification systems. Your data aggregated and published in our annual reports will provide a more comprehensive picture of the size, scope, and accomplishments of the national CME enterprise.

Activity Entry

Providers are required to include the following data about each activity taking place in the 2015 reporting year. This data was previously optional.

  • The name of joint providers (formerly “joint sponsors”), if applicable
  • The number of designated AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™, if applicable
  • Competency(ies) the activity was designed to address. Providers select from a list of competencies including ACGME/ABMS, Institute of Medicine, Interprofessional Education Collaborative, and Other.
  • The name of commercial supporter(s), the monetary amount of support, and/or the type of in-kind support given by each supporter. PARS will continue to offer checkboxes for types of in-kind support. For “other in-kind support,” providers will no longer need to complete a description field. In addition, a new section will automatically summarize the commercial support information reported for all commercial supporters of the activity.

The following data will not be reported for individual CME activities.

  • Advertising and exhibit income. This information will be submitted only in aggregate in the Program Summary, as described below.
  • Income from other sources. This information will be submitted only in aggregate, in three specific categories, in the Program Summary, as described below.
  • Expenses. This information will no longer be collected in PARS. Please see the explanation under Program Summary, below.

Program Summary

We have added income categories in order to collect more detailed data about CME program income. The ACCME will no longer collect information about CME program expenses, in response to feedback from providers and our observations that because of the wide range of provider types and their accounting systems this information was not always reported in a standardized, consistent manner across the accreditation system. PARS will continue to aggregate the total amount of monetary commercial support from the information submitted for each CME activity.

Program Summary Changes

  • Providers will report advertising and exhibit income only in aggregate on the Program Summary.
  • The category of Income from Other Sources has been eliminated. This category is replaced with three specific income categories: registration fees, government grants, and private donations including grants from foundations. Providers will no longer be required to include allocations from their parent organization or other internal departments.
  • PARS will no longer collect data about CME program expenses.

Terminology and Definition Changes

We have made the following terminology and definition changes.

  • The term sponsorship has been changed to providership, and activities will be described as directly provided or jointly provided. This change reflects the terminology change included in the simplification of the ACCME requirements and process.
  • Nonphysicians are called other learners. This category includes activity participants other than MDs and DOs. Residents are no longer included in this category; beginning with the 2015 reporting year they are included as physician participants. The terminology change has been made in response to feedback from the CME community that other learners is a more appropriate term for describing the range of learners.
  • Residents are included in the category of physician participants. This category continues to include activity participants who are MDs or DOs.

Batch Upload Resources

PARS Tab-delimited Upload Process: A Tutorial 
Tab Delimited Upload Template for 2015
Tab Delimited Upload Instructions for 2015
XML Upload Template and Instructions for 2015

Educational Resources

We have prepared the following resources to support your implementation of the PARS changes for the 2015 reporting year.

Q&A about PARS 2015 Changes

Accreditation Requirements and Descriptions of the ACCME: The annual report glossary in this PDF has been updated to incorporate the PARS 2015 changes.

More Information

More information, including the description of the changes and links to the educational resources described above, is available on the About PARS Web page. ACCME-accredited-providers: If you have questions, please contact us at Intrastate providers should contact their accreditor with questions.