ACCME's New Requirements Bring Change to CME

September 2009

The criteria are numerous, exacting, and challenging. We need the support of our members to meet these challenges.

Expansion of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education guidelines means significant changes for providers, including a requirement to increase surveys of participants.

"The new ACCME requirements represent a sea change in how CME providers like ACEP must plan, develop, implement, and document CME activities," said Tom Werlinich, ACEP's associate executive director, Educational Products Division.

"Whereas the traditional focus of CME has been on imparting relevant medical knowledge, the new focus is on identifying and filling practice gaps, and being able to document measurable improvements in physician competency, performance, and patient outcomes through pre- and post-CME activity questionnaires, interviews, focus group,s and other data gathering means," Mr. Werlinich explained.

For several months, ACEP staff members have been studying the expanded ACCME requirements, met with two expert consultants, conducted a 2-day training session for chapter CME coordinators, and revamped processes to ensure compliance.

In order for the College to maintain its accreditation as an AMA Category 1 CME provider, it is imperative that ACEP complies with the new criteria.

"The criteria are numerous, exacting, and challenging. We need the cooperation and support of our members in order to meet these challenges, ensuring that ACEP will continue to be able to provide CME credit for its programs and for its chapters' programs," Mr. Werlinich said.

Sensitive to emergency physicians' busy schedules, ACEP will make every effort to keep the questionnaires brief and easy to complete.

ACEP likely will be relying heavily on the Internet and online communications to gather the needed feedback.

"I hope everyone will understand that our goal here is twofold," Mr. Werlinich said.

"We want to comply with the expanded ACCME guidelines and maintain ACEP's accreditation, and we want to continue to provide ACEP members with high-quality continuing medical education that meets their needs and, ultimately, improves patient outcomes," he concluded.

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