ACCME Data Report: Onward and Upward: Thriving Together in Accredited Continuing Education – 2021

We are pleased to release the ACCME Data Report: Onward and Upward: Thriving Together in Accredited Continuing Education– 2021, which includes data from a community of 1,668 accredited organizations that offer physicians, other healthcare professionals, and healthcare teams an array of continuing education resources to promote high-quality, safe, and effective care for patients.

Demonstration of Growth and Progress

The data in this report reflects a growing accredited continuing education (CE) system. The data shows that our community of accredited providers has reacted nimbly to the COVID-19 pandemic, redesigning learning environments to offer critically needed skills and support to healthcare professionals and teams, and evolving their approach to meeting learners’ needs in a variety of new ways. In 2021, our community continued to innovate and persevere, and the number of educational events offered resumed its upward trajectory.

Key takeaways:

  • The number of accredited educational activities increased by 19%, from 172,000 in 2020 to 204,000 in 2021, representing the work of 1,668 accredited providers.
  • This education resulted in record levels of engagement from healthcare professionals. The number of physician interactions increased by 19% from 18 million in 2020 to nearly 22 million in 2021.
  • Income reported by accredited providers rose by 25% over the past year from $2.2 billion to $2.8 billion, including increases in industry support for accredited education ($772 million to $895 million), registration fees ($1.2 billion to $1.5 billion), and advertising and exhibits ($219 million to $367 million).
  • Accredited organizations are reporting many more activities that observe and measure performance, and more activities that extend and demonstrate the impact of their training to patient and community outcomes.
  • Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Education™ continues to grow in number of providers and professions represented, as demonstrated by the growth of other learners reflected in this report.
  • The data represents a stable system of accredited providers, demonstrating continued growth in online learning and team-based learning.

My colleagues and I remain inspired by the hard work and dedication of our accredited providers—you have continuously evolved to meet the changing needs of your learners, innovating to deliver much-needed education during a time of uncertainty. Health professionals’ education is among the most powerful currencies for change in the healthcare ecosystem—and your contributions make this change possible. Thank you.” –Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, President and CEO, ACCME

Data from the Upgraded Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS)

The new, improved PARS launched in November 2021 and now includes expanded options for reporting activity and learner credit data. We are grateful to our accredited providers for embracing this upgraded system and adapting to the streamlined reporting requirements.

  • Some of the changes in data fields establish 2021 as a new baseline for comparisons moving forward. For instance, rather than reporting the number of hours of instruction provided, beginning in 2021 we are reporting AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ offered.
  • The types of activities were modified to reflect the ease with which learners now engage remotely in both live and enduring material activities. We no longer draw the distinction between live and enduring activities that are provided in person and via the Internet.

ACCME will continue to expand its capabilities in tracking and managing information about accredited educational providers, their activities, and the learners who complete them. We are sharing data with an increasing number of certifying and licensing boards to increase the value of accredited CE, ensure that clinicians can find specific activities that meet their needs (using, and reduce the burden of managing this information on all stakeholders. Resources for entering CME activity and learner credit data in PARS are available here.

ACCME data reports from prior years are available here. An Excel download with the 2021 data is available hereQuestions? Email We are happy to help.