ACCME Releases 2010 Annual Report Data: The CME Economy increased by 2.7% Slowing a Three Year Downturn

Since 2006 the continuing medical education (CME) economy has significantly decreased but that trend now appears to be swinging in the opposite direction.  According to the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the CME economy grew to $2.2 billion up $57 million (2.7%) from 2009 to 2010.

The ACCME released its 2010 annual report data, which provides an in-depth view of the size and scope of the CME enterprise nationwide. The report includes statistics on CME program revenue, funding, numbers of participants and format of educational activities. The 2010 ACCME Annual Report Data marks the 13th year the ACCME has been collecting and analyzing information for accredited providers, and offers more than a decade-long perspective on the growth of the CME system (click here for previous annual reports).

The report includes information from 694 ACCME accredited providers, a decrease from 707 accredited providers in 2009.



In 2010, accredited providers produced more than 81,000 activities, a 14.2% decrease of activities from 2009, and a 27.8% decrease in activities since 2007.


Also in 2010 there were over 660,000 hours of instruction which is 29,000 (4.2%)  fewer hours than in 2009.


In 2010 accredited CME activities drew more than 19 million participants this included 11.5 million physician participants and 7.8 million non physician participants.


CME Income

For the first time since 2005 total CME income showed an increase of just less than $58 million or 2.7% more between 2009 and 2010.  From 2007 through 2010 the total CME income has dropped $296 million or 11.7%.

Total commercial support for CME was $856 million and 37% of total CME revenue. The slide on income from commercial support has slowed down from 2009 but continued in 2010 with $25 million or 2.9% less than 2009. Since 2007, commercial support has declined $297 million or 31.4%.

As a result of this decrease, the total percent of commercial support as part of the overall CME budget dropped from 51% (2007) to 37.1% in 2010.

Other income which includes participant registration and institution support has soared by $89 million in 2010 or 8.5% and up by $195 million (20.7%) since 2007.

Over the past few years the allocation of revenue sources has significantly changed for CME providers .  In 2006 other income accounted for 39% of the total CME Revenue in 2010 other income accounts for 51% of revenue.  The inverse is true for commercial support in 2006 commercial support accounted for 51% of CME revenue and in 2010 accounted for 37% of the revenue.


Medical Associations and Non Profits

In 2010, total revenue for associations and non-profits increased by $34 million (3.5%) to slightly over $1 billion.

Medical Societies continued to see a drop in commercial support from 2009 by $10 million (4.6%).

Exhibit income was slightly down from 2009 to 2010 to $224 million a decrease of $10 million (3.4%).

Other income including registrations saw a significant increase for medical societies to $580 million increased by $54 million (10.4%).



Universities achieved significant increase in CME revenue primarily from other income.  In 2010 universities received $434 million in CME revenue which is a $34 million or 9.4% increase from 2009.

Other income was $176 million increase of $16 million (10.4%) from 2009.  In previous years saw a very mild increase of less than $1.2 million or 1% between 2007 and 2009.

Commercial support for universities increased by $20 million to $232 million this representing a 9% increase in commercial support from 2009.


Publishing Companies (MECC’s)

Despite gains by other types of organizations publishing companies saw their income significantly erode from $604 million in 2009 to $525 million in 2010.  This represents almost $79 million (13.1%) decrease in CME revenue.  Representing a $305 million (36.8%) drop in CME income since 2007.

Publishers were particularly hard hit hard by the decrease in commercial support of CME this year commercial support represented $272 million in revenue down from $365 million in 2009.  This represents $93 million (25%) less commercial support from 2009 and a $322 million (54.2%) decrease since 2007. 

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Types of Activities

In 2010, 1.5 million physicians participated in live courses this is down from 1.6 million in 2009 a 8% reduction.  But physicians flocked to regularly schedule courses such as grand rounds soared from 2.3 million in 2009 to 3.0 million in 2010 a 26% increase. 

Archived online courses are by far the most popular amongst physicians with 4.6 million physician participants but the rate of increase has slowed to 1.6% representing 40% of all CME credits.  Performance Improvement CME has seen remarkable growth of 100.7% but the numbers of participants are still quite low representing less than 1% of total CME participants. In 2010, 29,371physicians participated in PI CME,  up from 14,136 in 2009.


After three years of steady declines it is encouraging to see that CME revenue is beginning to rise again.  There is still more work to be done to encourage commercial supporters and others to increase their participation in the CME economy.  In future years we see that perhaps the negative income trend may finally have turned.   

Other Information on ACCME Annual Report

ACCME Annual Report

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