When you review announcements of continuing medical education (CME) activities, you may notice an accreditation statement, which tells you that the education provider is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®) or by a state medical society to provide CME. What is the value and benefit of that statement for you?
The statement tells you that the CME provider is part of a community of more than 2,000 accredited organizations across the country that offer more than 130,000 educational activities each year, addressing national, regional, and community-based health care improvement priorities. ACCME accreditation assures physicians and other health care professionals that CME is designed to be relevant, effective, and independent. The ACCME accredits organizations that offer CME primarily to national or international audiences and also recognizes state and territory medical societies as accreditors for organizations that offer CME primarily to learners from their state or contiguous states. All CME programs within the ACCME system are held to the same high standards. The accreditation statement means that the CME provider has met those standards.
The ACCME accreditation requirements are a roadmap for producing effective education that supports health care professionals' commitment to lifelong learning and practice improvement. The ACCME Accreditation Criteria call on accredited providers to develop CME activities that address the real-world problems that physicians and other health care professionals encounter in their practice, whether they work in clinical care, research, administration, executive leadership, or other areas of medicine.
The ACCME Standards for Commercial Support require CME providers to design activities that are independent, free from commercial bias, and based on valid content. The ACCME’s objective is to support the free flow of scientific exchange while safeguarding accredited CME from commercial influence.
A National Model
The accreditation statement is brief, but it stands for a voluntary, self-regulatory system that has become a national model. Since its founding in 1981, the ACCME has focused on setting and maintaining accreditation requirements that are relevant to physicians’ lifelong learning needs and responsive to changes in the health care environment. The ACCME accreditation system is your accreditation system, ensuring that accredited CME is of, by, and for the profession of medicine.