The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®) has opened the Program & Activity Reporting System (PARS) for live data entry. PARS is a Web-based portal, designed to streamline and support the collection of program and activity data from ACCME-accredited continuing medical education (CME) providers.
PARS replaces the PC-based spreadsheets the ACCME previously used to collect data for the reaccreditation process. Instead, providers can submit data on an ongoing basis, deciding when and how often to upload information. In addition, providers will no longer need to submit separate, aggregated data for the ACCME annual reports.
While there are no new data requirements for providers, PARS features optional data fields to collect information about individual CME activities’ topics, joint sponsors and commercial support. This additional information will provide a more detailed and comprehensive picture of the national CME enterprise and assist the ACCME, accredited providers and other stakeholders in demonstrating the value and scope of CME.
PARS is a flexible system, giving providers several options for entering activity data. They can input activities one at a time through the Web-based PARS interface. Providers can also export multiple activity records from their own CME tracking systems, using either a tab-delimited or XML file format. The PARS fields conform to the Medical Education Metrics (MEMS) XML standard created by MedBiquitous, an accredited standards developer for health care education technologies. XML makes it easier for systems to format and exchange data in a consistent manner.
The ACCME has prepared educational resources for accredited providers and anyone who is interested in learning more about PARS. Access these resources by visiting Ask ACCME and clicking on ACCME’s Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS) or by visiting the About PARS Web page. Accredited providers can login to PARS here or by clicking on the login button located within the For CME Providers section of the ACCME Web site.
"We developed PARS to improve the efficiency of our data collection and streamline the process for accredited providers," said Murray Kopelow, MD, ACCME Chief Executive. “In addition, PARS will provide us with a more comprehensive picture of the value, size and scope of accredited CME in the United States. Accredited providers have given us valuable feedback throughout the PARS testing process, and we look forward to supporting providers as they begin to use PARS."
"The ACCME’s move to electronic collection of accreditation data is a boon for CME quality and efficiency,” said Peter Greene, MD, Executive Director of MedBiquitous. “By continuously collecting data, the ACCME can see the most up-to-date information on CME offerings and programs. And the use of MedBiquitous standards for data collection paves the way for automated reporting, making it easy for CME providers to send in their data.”
The PARS launch follows two pilot phases, during which groups of accredited providers volunteered to test the system and provide feedback, and an exhibition phase. During the exhibition phase, which ran from April 21 – May 21, about 400 people viewed the educational resources, and 138 organizations, representing the range of provider types, took advantage of the opportunity to try out the system before it went live, ask questions and provide feedback. The ACCME made adjustments to PARS based on the feedback received during the pilot and exhibition phases.
Here are a few comments about the benefits of PARS from providers who participated in the exhibition phase.
• "This will be a timesaver, so we're not reporting the same information on the annual report and again on the activity list."
• "Uploading will make the process much easier. I believe this reporting will help the ACCME have a pulse on what is happening in the industry."
• "Transparency for the CME system. Greatest benefit for me is the ongoing record of activity which I can access at any time to review. My organization will benefit from PARS because leaders can view the activities of the CME office and thereby make it more central to the organization."
About the ACCME
The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education is a not-for-profit organization based in Chicago that is responsible for accrediting U.S. institutions that offer continuing medical education through a voluntary, self-regulatory system. The ACCME also has a system for recognizing state medical societies as accreditors for local organizations offering CME.
The ACCME's mission is to identify, develop and promote standards for quality continuing medical education that improves health care for patients and their communities. There are currently approximately 2,200 accredited CME providers in the United States, whose educational activities draw more than 17 million health care practitioner participants annually.
The ACCME's member organizations include the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the Association for Hospital Medical Education, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Council of Medical Specialty Societies and the Federation of State Medical Boards of the U.S. Inc.
For more information, visit http://www.accme.org/.
About The MedBiquitous Consortium
Founded by Johns Hopkins Medicine and leading professional medical societies, the MedBiquitous Consortium is creating a technology blueprint for health care education. Based on XML and Web services standards, this blueprint will seamlessly support the health care learner in ways that will improve patient care and simplify the administrative work associated with education and competence assessment. MedBiquitous also provides a neutral forum for educators and industry alike to exchange ideas about innovative uses of Web technologies for health care education and communities of practice. It is the mission of MedBiquitous to advance health care education through technology standards that promote professional competence, collaboration, and better patient care. For more information on MedBiquitous, please visit http://www.medbiq.org/.