Test-item writing is an activity wherein physicians learn through their contribution to the development (and review) of examinations, or certain peer-reviewed self-assessment activities, by researching, drafting, and defending potential test-items.
For example, a provider planned an activity in which 5 physicians wrote test-items for an American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) member board certification examination question pool. Each physician completed the test-item writing activity in approximately 10 hours. In PARS, the provider would report this as a test-item writing activity with 5 Physician Learners and 10 Hours of Instruction.
You can click on the name of any of these activity types for a definition and additional information on how to report learners and hours of instruction:
- Regularly Scheduled Series
- Internet Live Course
- Enduring Material
- Internet Activity (Enduring Material)
- Journal Based CME
- Manuscript Review
- Test-Item Writing
- Committee Learning
- Performance Improvement
- Internet Searching and Learning
- Learning from Teaching
A regularly scheduled series (RSS) is a live activity that generally targets the same learners over the whole series. If you choose to record some or all of the sessions and make the recordings available to the learners who would normally participate in the live sessions, those recorded sessions are still part of the RSS and do not need to be reported in PARS as separate enduring materials. You would report the RSS as a single activity in PARS.
If you decide to make some or all of the recorded sessions available to a different audience (not the learners who normally participate in the live sessions), either as individual sessions or as a series, this new activity should be reported in PARS as a separate enduring material (or multiple enduring materials).
Learning from teaching activities are personal learning projects designed and implemented by the learner with facilitation from the accredited provider. This type of activity recognizes the learning that occurs as physicians prepare to teach. Learning from teaching represents a range of activities in which an accredited provider can facilitate practice-based learning and improvement – where the ‘practice’ could be the person’s professional “teaching practice” or “clinical practice” or “research practice.”
Examples of learning from teaching activities:
- To prepare for teaching a skills workshop at a surgical specialty society meeting, physician faculty find that they need to learn how to operate a new laparoscopic device that will be used during the workshop. The specialty society, as an accredited provider, facilitates their training on the new device as a learning from teaching activity for the faculty prior to their teaching engagement.
- An accredited provider makes available a learning from teaching activity for new faculty in the form of "individualized learning projects." In the activity, new faculty assess what knowledge and skills they need to teach more effectively, and then the provider makes available training and feedback to improve the new faculty members’ teaching skills. This includes one-to-one mentorship and training with educational experts.
When you report learning from teaching in PARS, aggregate your data for learning from teaching for all learners into one activity. For hours of instruction, specify the amount of time you believe a learner would take to complete their learning from teaching activity. The number of learners should equal the number of individuals who participated in this activity.
For example, a provider created a learning from teaching activity for 10 learners. Each learner completed their activity in approximately 2 hours. In PARS, the provider would report this as a learning from teaching activity with 10 learners and 2 hours of instruction.
An internet searching and learning activity is an activity in which a physician engages in self-directed, online learning on topics relevant to their clinical practice from a database whose content has been vetted by an accredited CME provider. This type of activity is based on a learner identifying a problem in practice and then accessing content in search of an answer from sources on the Internet that are facilitated by a provider. For the purpose of data collection, the ACCME includes AMA-defined point of care CME as a form of internet searching and learning.
When you report internet searching and learning in PARS, aggregate and report all your data for internet searching and learning for all learners into one activity. For hours of instruction, specify the amount of time you believe a learner would take to complete the internet searching and learning activity. The number of learners should equal the distinct number of learners who participated in the internet searching and learning activity.
For example, a provider creates an internet searching learning activity in which 50 learners participate. Each learner spent approximately 30 minutes participating in this activity. In PARS, the provider would report this as an internet searching and learning activity, with 50 learners and 0.5 hours of instruction.
A performance improvement activity is structured as a three-stage process by which a physician or group of physicians learn about specific performance measures, assess their practice using the selected performance measures, implement interventions to improve performance related to these measures over a useful interval of time, and then reassess their practice using the same performance measures.
For hours of instruction, specify the amount of time you believe a learner would take to complete the performance improvement activity. The number of learners should reflect the distinct number of learners engaged in the performance improvement activity.
Committee learning is a live activity that involves a learner’s participation in a committee process addressing a subject which, if taught/learned in another format, would be considered within the definition of continuing education.
The committee is the activity, regardless of how many times the committee meets. The hours of instruction would be the total learning time (e.g., however long they are in the committee). The number of learners should reflect the number of participants in the committee.
Manuscript review is an activity in which a learner participates in the critical review of an assigned journal manuscript during the pre-publication review process of a journal.
When you report a manuscript review activity in PARS, report each journal for which the manuscript is reviewed as an activity regardless of the number of manuscripts and the number of reviewers. For hours of instruction, specify the amount of time you believe a learner would take to complete the manuscript review activity. The number of learners should reflect the distinct number of learners engaged in reviewing manuscripts.
For example, a provider published one journal. During the course of the year, 25 learners reviewed manuscripts for this journal. Each learner spent 2 hours on their review. In PARS, the provider would report this as 1 manuscript review activity, with 25 Learners and 2 Hours of Instruction.
A journal-based activity is an activity that is planned and presented by an accredited provider and in which the learner reads one or more articles (or adapted formats for special needs) from a peer-reviewed professional journal.
When reporting journal-based activities in PARS, the accredited provider may choose to report journal-based CME activities as a single activity per journal or as individual articles. For hours of instruction, specify the amount of time required to complete the activity. The number of learners should equal the total number of individuals who completed the activity.
For example, a provider produces a journal that contains an article that is associated with an activity. Twenty learners read the article, reflect on the content, and complete questions related to the content of the article. The learners spend 1 hour on this activity. In PARS, the provider would report this as a journal-based activity with 20 learners, and 1 hour of instruction.
An internet enduring material is an online enduring activity that can be accessed whenever the learner chooses to complete it. The content can be accessed at any point during the lifespan of the activity and there is no specific time designated for participation. Examples include online interactive educational modules, recorded presentations, podcasts.
Internet enduring material activities should be reported in PARS for each year in which they are active, either for the entire year or any part thereof. For each year that you provided the activity, please report the number of learners who participated in it during that year, as well as the income related to the activity for that year. Do not report cumulative data for an activity spanning multiple years. The start date entered for the activity should be the first date the activity was available for learners or the date of the most recent review of the activity, whichever is later. If the internet enduring material activity spans multiple years, the start date should be consistent across reporting years.
When reporting the number of learners for an internet enduring material activity, you should count all learners who completed all or a portion of the activity and whose participation can be verified in some manner. The accreditor would not consider individuals that only downloaded or accessed the activity but did not actually complete a portion of it to be learners.
The hours of instruction for an internet enduring activity should indicate the amount of time it takes an individual learner to complete the activity.
An enduring material is a printed, recorded, or computer-presented activity that endures over a specified time and does not have a specific time or location designated for participation; rather, the participant determines whether and when to complete the activity.
Enduring materials should be reported in PARS for each year in which they are active, either for the entire year or any part thereof. For each year that you provided the activity, please report the number of learners who participated in it during that year, as well as the income related to the activity for that year. Do not report cumulative data for an activity spanning multiple years. The start date entered for the activity should be the first date the activity was available for learners or the date of the most recent review of the activity, whichever is later. If the enduring material activity spans multiple years, the start date should be consistent across reporting years.
When reporting the number of learners for an enduring material activity, you should count all learners who completed all or a portion of the activity and whose participation can be verified in some manner. The accreditor would not consider individuals that only received the enduring material activity but did not actually complete a portion of it to be learners.
The hours of instruction for an enduring activity should indicate the amount of time it takes an individual learner to complete the activity.
An internet live course is an online course available at a certain time on a certain date and is only available in real-time, just as if it were a course held in an auditorium. Once the event has taken place, learners may no longer participate in that activity. Examples include a livestream, webcast, or webinar.
Hours of instruction and number of learners are reported in the same way as an in-person course.
Regularly scheduled series is a live activity planned as a series with multiple, ongoing sessions, e.g., offered weekly, monthly, or quarterly. A regularly scheduled series is primarily planned by and presented to the accredited organization’s professional staff and generally targets the same audience over the whole series. Examples include grand rounds, tumor boards, and morbidity and mortality conferences.
Live activities where the same content is offered multiple times for different audiences should be reported as separate courses and not regularly scheduled series.
When reporting Regularly Scheduled Series (RSS) in PARS, each series should be reported as one activity. In addition, the following guidelines should be used:
- The cumulative number of hours for all sessions within a series equals the number of hours for that activity and
- Each physician is counted as a learner for each session he/she attends in the series.
For example: Internal Medicine Grand Rounds is planned for the entire year as one series. They meet weekly during the year for one hour each week. In PARS, the series should be entered as one activity with 52 hours of instruction. Also, if 20 learners participated in each session, total learners would be 1,040 (20 learners/session x 52 sessions) for that single activity.
A course is a live activity where the learner participates in person. A course is planned as an individual event. Examples: an annual meeting, conference, or seminar.
For events with multiple sessions, such as annual meetings, accredited providers report one activity and calculate the hours of instruction by totaling the hours of all educational sessions offered for credit. Accredited providers are not required to calculate learner totals from the individual sessions.
To calculate the numbers of learners, accredited providers report the number of learners for the overall event.
If the same course is held multiple times for different audiences, then each instance is reported as a separate activity.
An important concept in PARS is that of “open” and “closed” activities. Open activities are those that have a minimum set of data entered for them: specifically, activity name, activity type, activity date, and, if applicable, location. Once these data about an activity are entered, the activity is “open”, and is saved to the database. Closed activities are those activities for which all required information has been entered. For example, in order for an activity to be considered “closed”, a provider must enter data about the hours of instruction, physician and other learners, providership, whether commercial support was received, and if it was, how much was received and from how many supporters. Once all required fields for an activity contain data, PARS considers the activity “closed”.
Yes, if educational material from a live activity is turned into an enduring material, the enduring material is considered a separate activity.
Report any in-kind (non-monetary) commercial support received for an activity by indicating the nature of the in-kind support. You should not estimate the dollar value of in-kind support. The following are the options in PARS to describe the nature of in-kind support:
- Durable equipment
- Disposable supplies (Non-biological)
- Animal parts or tissue
- Human parts of tissue