ACCME Webinar on Simplified Accreditation Requirements Summary, Release “Performance-in-Practice Structured Abstract”

The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) hosted a webinar to discuss the recent changes to their accreditation process. A few weeks ago we wrote about ACCME’s plan to simplify the accreditation requirements. This webinar outlined what our previous article covered: the specific changes to the accreditation requirements. ACCME has posted their updated Requirements and Descriptions document with notes about any changes. The webinar clarified that these changes are effective immediately. ACCME will not penalize companies who submit information that would have been out of compliance with the old standards. ACCME also notes that accredited providers may continue to use the previous standards without penalty.

In formulating their updated requirements, the ACCME wanted to “streamline the accreditation system while maintaining high standards and continuing to support [continuing medical education] as a strategic asset to healthcare improvement initiatives.” Their changes come after two rounds of feedback, including a formal call-for-comment from the CME community in December 2013 where over 250 stakeholders responded.

The results made clear that a significant majority of the respondents agreed with the ACCME’s proposals to simplify the accreditation criteria, policies, and process. Dr. Murray Kopelow, ACCME’s President and CEO, stated that the ACCME Board of Directors decided to defer adoption of changes to the Standards for Commercial Support (SCS) to prohibit use of commercial interest logos in the acknowledgment of commercial support. He noted that the ACCME was focused on “simplification” at this time.

According to Kopelow, most of the revisions sought to remove “redundant, unnecessary” policies. The changes include:

  1. Simplifying and removing some of the Accreditation Criteria and policy requirements
  2. Changing terminology from “joint sponsorship” to “joint providership”
  3. Offering providers an abstract as an ACCME-approved tool to use when verifying performance-in-practice
  4. Simplifying the process for organizations applying for initial accreditation

The ACCME stated the following framework for their accreditation process under the new scheme:

The ACCME also provided the following timeline. Note that CME providers can keep doing everything the ACCME has removed, and never get out of compliance. “Doing something ACCME crossed out does not make you fall out of compliance,” Dr. Kopelow stated. He noted that he does not want companies to be burdened with undoing their information simply to re-do it in a different way. ACCME’s simplified process can be used by companies at a later time.

Dr. Kopelow also noted that providers with progress reports outstanding have already been notified by ACCME about requirements that have been removed.

ACCME Performance-In-Practice Structured Abstract

As of March 10, CME providers have the option of using a “Performance-In-Practice Structured Abstract” or to continue using labeled evidence to verify performance-in-practice. ACCME notes that “providers should use either, but not both, of these approaches for the performance-in-practice verification during the accreditation process. The ACCME will accept only one approach (the abstract or the labeled evidence) from a provider in order to standardize and streamline the accreditation review process, for the benefit of providers and volunteer surveyors.”

The form is available to download on the hyperlink provided above. Meeting attendees noted that perhaps a 50 word limit would be difficult to accomplish for extensive medical education programs with multiple learning objectives.

ACCME advises stakeholders to stay tuned for more information regarding the accreditation criteria.


ACCME Archive Video

ACCME Simplification Slides

ACCME Transcript of Presentation

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