Accreditation Council for CME Announces New Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education
Newly evolved standards serve the needs of healthcare professionals, patients, and the public in changing healthcare environment
The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®) is pleased to announce new Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education. The Standards are designed to ensure that accredited continuing education provides healthcare professionals with accurate, balanced, evidence-based information that supports safe and effective patient care.
The new Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education evolved from the Standards for Commercial Support: Standards to Ensure Independence in CME Activities℠, which were first adopted in 1992 and updated in 2004. The new Standards were developed through a two-year, inclusive process of dialogue and consensus-building with stakeholders. The goal was to streamline, clarify, and modernize the Standards, and ensure their continued relevance and effectiveness in the changing healthcare environment.
The newly evolved Standards reflect the values of the continuing education community and have been adopted by accrediting bodies representing multiple health professions. Independence from industry is the cornerstone of accredited continuing education. By achieving consensus on the Standards, these accrediting bodies in the health professions stand together, not only to continue to assure the delivery of high-quality learning experiences, but also to sustain the protection from industry bias and marketing that accreditation rules deliver:
- Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME)
- Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE)
- American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)
- American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
- Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry’s Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (ARBO/COPE)
- Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education™
New Standards Webinar and Resources
The ACCME has produced resources to support the continuing education community’s successful transition to the new Standards. Providers in the ACCME System (ACCME-accredited, state-accredited, and jointly accredited providers) will be expected to implement the new Standards by January 1, 2022.
- New Standards Webinar: The ACCME will hold a free webinar, open to all, on January 11, 2021, at 1 pm Central.
- New Standards Info Package: This PDF includes an overview and full text of the new Standards, transition timeline, and links to resources.
- New Standards Resources Webpage: This webpage aggregates resources for continuing education providers.
- New Standards Implementation Toolkit: This PDF includes sample forms, templates, and checklists.
- Video Introduction to the New Standards: This brief video provides an overview from Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, President and CEO, Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME)
Value of the New Standards: Leadership Comments
“Trust is core to the value of accredited continuing education. Clinicians, patients, and the public must be able to trust that accredited education is delivering meaningful, scientifically accurate content, free from industry manipulation and influence. With the evolved Standards, we, as a community of educators and accrediting bodies, reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that healthcare professionals have access to relevant, timely, efficient, and effective education that is balanced, evidence-based, and insulated from industry bias. The ACCME and the community of educational organizations we accredit stand with clinicians and will continue to deliver on our promise to offer trusted learning that helps them provide safe, effective, and compassionate care.”—Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, President and CEO, Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME)
“ACPE is pleased to support the Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education. These Standards help our accredited providers achieve the highest principles in providing continuing education to our constituents.”—Jan Engle, PharmD, PhD (HON), FAPhA, FCCP, FNAP, Executive Director, Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE)
“Clinicians can now rely on accredited continuing education to be free from any type of promotion. The AAFP is proud to be part of the journey to evolve and harmonize the Standards to better safeguard education for learners without creating administrative burden for continuing education provider organizations.”—Amy Smith, MBA, Director CPD Accreditation, American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)
“The ANCC Nursing Continuing Professional Development Accreditation program is proud to have been engaged in developing the new Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education. Aligning the key areas of content integrity standards across accreditors in the health care professions ensures that accredited continuing education is designed, implemented, and evaluated free from commercial bias and influence. This opportunity fosters acceptance and alignment of content integrity principles, including creating an environment where accredited providers of continuing education in the healthcare professions can collaborate to deliver high-quality continuing professional development through streamlined processes.” —Jennifer Graebe MSN, RN, NEA-BC, Director, Nursing Continuing Professional Development & Joint Accreditation Program, American Nurses Credentialing Center-Accreditation
“We are pleased to join other CE/CME accreditors in adopting the new Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education. Having uniformity in the principles and requirements of accredited CE/CME is valuable so learners can be assured educational programs meet consistent, high standards regardless of their profession. Joining the ACCME and other accreditors in adopting the Standards for Integrity and Independence will allow COPE to continue to provide independent CE that is free from bias and to maintain our focus on the health and well-being of patients.”—Lisa Fennell, Executive Director, Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO)/Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE)
“Patients and families have the right to expect that their healthcare teams will make care recommendations that are based on science, not marketing. Joint Accreditation includes accreditors from 10 health professions, and we are proud to adopt the Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education. Although each health profession represents different perspectives and experiences, we are united in our commitment to ensuring that healthcare education by the team, for the team serves the public trust.” —Kathy Chappell, PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN; Kate Regnier, MA, MBA; Dimitra Travlos, PharmD, Cofounders, Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education
Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME)
The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®) is a nonprofit organization based in Chicago, responsible for accrediting organizations that offer continuing medical education (CME) and for recognizing state medical societies as accreditors of local CME programs. The ACCME is a cofounder of Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education™.
The ACCME sets standards for CME that reflect the values of the educator community and aim to accelerate learning, inspire change, and champion improvement in healthcare. These standards ensure that accredited CME is designed to be relevant to clinicians’ needs, evidence-based, evaluated for its effectiveness, and independent of commercial influence. Through participation in accredited CME, clinicians and teams drive improvement in their practice and optimize the care, health, and wellness of their patients.
Accredited CME facilitates engagement with physicians and healthcare teams where they live, learn, and work. There are approximately 1,720 accredited CME providers within the ACCME System, across the country and internationally, representing a range of organizations including medical schools, hospitals/health systems, government/military agencies, specialty societies, and insurance/managed-care companies. Accredited providers offer about 190,000 activities each year, comprising more than one million hours of instruction and including approximately 37 million interactions with physicians and other healthcare professionals.
Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE)
ACPE is the national agency for the accreditation of professional degree programs in pharmacy and providers of continuing pharmacy education. In collaboration with the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, ACPE accredits pharmacy technician education and training programs. ACPE also offers evaluation and certification of professional degree programs internationally. The mission of ACPE is to assure and advance excellence in education for the profession of pharmacy. ACPE is an autonomous and independent agency whose Board of Directors is derived through the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), and the American Council on Education (ACE). To learn more about ACPE, visit www.acpe-accredit.org or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)
Founded in 1947, the AAFP Credit System was the first CME accrediting body for physicians in United States and today remains the only accreditor focused solely on the needs of family physicians. The AAFP Credit System sets and upholds the standards for family physicians’ lifelong learning and facilitates members’ access to vetted, relevant, and quality CME that improves the practice of family medicine, health care delivery, and the health of individuals and populations.
The AAFP Credit System reviews CME credit applications, on a per activity basis and awards either AAFP Prescribed or Elective credit to activities that comply with our eligibility requirements. For more information on the AAFP Credit System, please visit our website.
American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
The mission of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association (ANA), is to promote excellence in nursing and health care globally through credentialing programs. ANCC's internationally renowned credentialing programs certify and recognize individual nurses in specialty practice areas. ANCC recognizes health care organizations that promote nursing excellence and quality patient outcomes while providing safe, positive work environments. In addition, ANCC accredits health care organizations that provide and approve continuing nursing education. ANCC is the only nurse credentialing organization to successfully achieve ISO 9001:2008 certification.
Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO)/Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE)
COPE is a program of the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO) to accredit continuing education on behalf of optometric licensing boards for the public welfare. COPE accredits CE activities and providers for optometrists to meet license renewal requirements, and is also an Associate Member of the Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education collaborative. ARBO is a non-profit organization based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and serves 66 regulatory agencies in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. For more information, please visit www.arbo.org.
Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education™
Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education offers organizations the opportunity to be simultaneously accredited to provide continuing education for dentists, dietitians, nurses, optometrists, PAs (physician assistants), pharmacists, physicians, psychologists, and social workers through a single, unified application process, fee structure, and set of accreditation standards. Jointly accredited providers may award single profession or interprofessional continuing education credit (IPCE) to participating professions without needing to obtain separate accreditations. Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education is the first and only process in the world offering this benefit. For more information, visit www.jointaccreditation.org.