About CME and CME credit in the United States
To Physicians and other clinical medical professionals - Attending CME activities is beneficial and valuable to physicians and other medical professionals because it is required in order to maintain medical licensure & certification, is a source of constant improvement that ultimately improves their medical practice, and keeps them up-to-date on the latest technologies, advancements, treatments, etc. Speaking at CME activities can also be a great stage for clinical medical professionals to share their expertise and increase their distinction in their specialty.
To Employers - Sending employees to CME activities benefits employers because it improves the knowledge, competence, performance & patient outcomes of the employees. It is also an opportunity to show support for employees & associates, and supporting the professional develoment needs of employees shows the employee that the employer supports them, which can help with employee retention. Additionally, hosting CME programs helps attract employees because it brings in experts that raise the level of professionalism of the workplace.
To Departments within an Organization - Sending staff to CME activities improves the knowledge, competence, performance & patient outcomes of staff and shows support to their professional development needs, which helps retain them. Additionally, hosting CME programs is a great way for departments to earn physician attendance and increase the visibility & credibility of the department.
To Organizations & Businesses - Sending staff to CME activities improves the knowledge, competence, performance & patient outcomes of the employees and shows support to their professional development needs, which helps retain them. Additionally, hosting CME programs is a great way for organizations & businesses to earn the attendance of physicians in the community and to increase the visibility, credibility and expertise of the organization within the community.
To the Commmunity, City & State - CME benefits the local community, city, state, and region because it improves the health of the people as it improves patient care & patient outcomes. Hosting CME activities also benefits a city's commerce because notable CME activities can attract hundreds of tourists to a city.
Coninuing Medical Education defined - Continuing medical education (CME) is continuing education or professional development for physicians. By definition, "[CME] consists of educational activities which serve to maintain, develop, or increase the knowledge, skills, and professional performance and relationships that a physician uses to provide services for patients, the public, or the profession".
CME Content - The content of CME is that body of knowledge and skills generally recognized and accepted by the profession as within the basic medical sciences, the discipline of clinical medicine, and the provision of health care to the public.
CME Content Requirements - Continuing Medical Education must be: 1) Designed Specifically for your Physicians – Your CME activity must address shortcomings in the current professional practice of your target audience of physicians (EA 2-2). 2) Unbiased by Commercial Interests - The following aspects of your CME activity must be free from control of a commercial interest: (a) identification of the educational needs, (b) determination of educational objectives, (c) selection and presentation of content, (d) selection of all persons and organizations that will be in a position to control the content of the CME, (e) selection of the educational methods, and (f) evaluation of the activity (EA 2-7 & 2-8; SCS 1.1). 3) Educational - The content and presentation must promote improvements or quality in healthcare and not a specific proprietary business interest of a commercial interest (EA 2-10). 4) Evidence-Based - All recommendations involving clinical medicine must be based on evidence that is accepted within the profession of medicine as adequate justification for their indications and contraindications in the care of patients. All scientific research referred to, reported or used in support or justification of a patient care recommendation must conform to the generally accepted standards of experimental design, data collection and analysis. 5) Free from Promotion - The content and presentation must promote improvements or quality in healthcare and not a specific proprietary business interest of a commercial interest (EA 2-10).
AMA PRA Category 1 Credit - AMA PRA Category 1 Credit is the standard for physician licensing boards and is recognized by all U.S. jurisdictions. Certifying your educational activity for AMA PRA Category 1 Credits demonstrates the medical & educational validity of the activity - and its value to physicians - in a way that is favorable when applying for other types of CME credit. AMA PRA Category 1 Credits may be approved as AAFP Prescribed credit, AAP credit, ACEP Category 1 credit, ACOG cognate credit, AAPA credit, and AOA Category 2-B credit. The UTCOM designates CEU's using the national standard that 1 live hour of educational instruction is awarded .1 CEU.
AAFP Prescribed credit - AAFP Prescribed credit boosts your attendance and demonstrates that your content is relevant and valid for family physicians.
Certificates of Attendance for non-physicians - Certificates of attendance can be issued to non-physicians for attending CME activities, and these certificates count as continuing education for non-physicians. The UTCOM designates CEU's using the national standard that 1 live hour of educational instruction is awarded .1 CEU. AMA PRA Category 1 Credits may be approved as AAP credit, ACEP Category 1 credit, ACOG cognate credit, AAPA credit, and AOA Category 2-B credit.
CME activities are most often live activities, but they can also be pre-recorded video, written & audio presentations. CME usually takes the form of conferences where a speaker educates an audience of physicians on a medical topic or where a group of physicians discusses their current medical cases or medical journals, but it also includes a physician reviewing written, audio & video CME publications.
CME Activity Formats/Classifications are as follows: (ordered by prevalence)
The ACCME's 2015 Annual Report was the source for the data above.
Although CME Courses are the most popular type of CME activity, most physician partcipation in CME activities does not take place through CME courses. Rather, it takes place through regularly-scheduled series and Internet (enduring materials), as the table below shows:
CME Activity Participation is as follows: (ordered by prevalence)
The ACCME's 2015 Annual Report was the source for the data above.
The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) (www.accme.org) is the organization that accredits organizations to provide continuing medical education to physicians.
The state of Tennessee requires physicians to attend 40 hours of CME every two years in order to maintain licensure & certification, but different states have different CME hourly requirements.
Size & Scope - The following data gives an overview of CME in the United States:
Click here to view the source of this data or for more data from the 2012 ACCME Annual Report.
Click here to see how the UTCOM contributes to these national totals.