Recently, the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) held its March meetings with its Board of Directors, during which the Board adopted a new strategic plan. The new strategic plan discusses the ACCME’s goals to drive transformation in the learning environment, support the continuing medical education (CME) community, and simplify and align regulatory systems.
The Board ratified 57 accreditations, including 22 CME providers achieving Accreditation with Commendation and 26 providers achieving Accreditation. Of the 26 achieving Accreditation, fourteen need to submit progress reports. In addition, two initial applicants achieved Provisional Accreditation while three initial applicants did not. In addition the Board ratified 14 progress report decisions, including 11 CME providers demonstrating compliance with all the requirements previously found in noncompliance and three CME providers not yet demonstrating compliance with all requirements. Currently, there are 1,770 providers in the ACCME system, including ACCME-accredited, state-accredited, and jointly accredited providers.
In creating the strategic plan, the ACCME Board of Directors, executive leadership, and ACCME staff, worked together in a strategic planning process. The groups reviewed the ACCME’s trajectory, identified opportunities and challenges, and interviewed stakeholders to gain their insights and perspectives. The new strategic plan comprises six priority areas: Augment Awareness of CME’s Value; Assure Accreditation Quality and Equivalency; Accelerate the Evolution of CME; Assist CME Educators; Advance Data Systems; and Advocate for CME Scholarship.
Augment Awareness of CME’s Value
Leaders at healthcare institutions, professional societies, and other health-related organizations have the capacity to inspire staff and members to engage in professional development, and to infuse their environments with a positive culture of learning that promotes interprofessionalism. The ACCME aims to encourage leaders to recognize that educational programs can create intellectual fulfillment and restore joy in practice; relieve clinicians of administrative burden through simplification, alignment, and collaboration; create and sustain functional interprofessional teams that learn together and take care of each other; and facilitate meaningful improvements in the quality and safety of patient care.
Assure Accreditation Quality and Equivalency
ACCME Accreditation standards ensure that CME continues to be high-quality, effective, independent, free of commercial bias, and based on valid content. The ACCME accreditation system is recognized as a national model by federal and state government agencies, other healthcare accrediting bodies, and the profession of medicine. It is important that the ACCME and its Recognized Accreditors regulate and accredit appropriately to meet the expectations of the profession and stakeholders.
Accelerate the Evolution of CME
Healthcare is continuing to evolve, and therefore, the educational system to support practitioners must also evolve. The advancements in educational technology such as adaptive e-learning and simulation create new opportunities to design ever more effective and efficient educational programs. The ACCME’s commendation criteria are designed to help providers evolve their educational strategy and build their capacity to create longitudinal relationships with learners that meet their needs as individual clinicians, and as members of teams, institutions, and communities.
Assist CME Educators
The CME community is made up of educators and administrators who are developing, implementing, measuring, and sharing effective practices in the development of learning, skills, and attitudes that support the delivery of high-quality care. These professionals and volunteers need their own support system and ability to learn from and with each other, so they can efficiently adopt and implement effective practices. The ACCME aims to identify, publicize, and promote effective practices for developing, implementing and measuring offerings that support learners in delivering high-quality care.
Advance Data Systems
ACCME plans to develop and promote a data system that supports and is accepted by all who are involved in developing and implementing continuing professional development (CPD) systems. Given access to their own data, learners can use it to reflect on their learning, and share it with credentialers, certification boards, licensing authorities, and others. Such a data system would also support greater engagement in the CPD system, build more self-awareness, help clinicians find and choose activities that fit their specific needs, facilitate self-reflection and the construction of an individualized educational plan, and serve as a powerful repository for generating and answering research questions.
Advocate for CME Scholarship
The last priority pillar in the strategic plan is to develop and promote strategies that encourage providers and learners to engage in scholarship and support research that can lead to improved educational programs. There is significant opportunity for growth in the area of CME research. The ACCME has already embraced research by including it as a component of the commendation criteria, and they continuously seek strategies that will encourage providers to engage in scholarship and sharing, and promote the willingness of clinicians to allow their data to be used for scholarly pursuits.
The Board meeting and new strategic plan continue ACCME’s promise t