On August 1, 2017, the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) announced that they have adopted a final proposal to simplify and align their expectations for accredited continuing medical education (CME) activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit.
The final proposal follows a call for comment on the proposed simplification in April 2017, when the vast majority of those who responded endorsed the proposal and agreed that it would give them sufficient opportunity to innovate and evolve their CME programs. The proposal was then adopted by both the AMA and the ACCME and the organizations are now working together to develop a list of frequently asked questions and other resources to assist members with implementation.
This simplification is expected to encourage both innovation and flexibility in CME while ensuring that activities meet education standards and are free from commercial influence. The simplification aims to permit accredited CME providers to introduce and blend new instructional practices and learning formats that are appropriate to the learners and the setting – as long as they follow the AMA’s seven core requirements.
The core requirements are aligned with ACCME accreditation requirements—and do not represent any new rules for accredited providers. In addition, the AMA has simplified and reduced its learning format requirements to provide more flexibility for CME providers. To further encourage innovation in educational design and delivery, CME providers may design and deliver an activity that uses blended or new approaches to driving meaningful learning and change. For these activities, the provider can designate credits on an hour-per-credit basis using their best reasonable estimate of the time required to complete the activity.
“The simplification and alignment will encourage innovation and experimentation in CME, so that educators are free to respond nimbly to their learners’ changing needs while staying true to core principles for educational excellence and independence. We celebrate this collaborative effort with our AMA colleagues and thank our community of accredited CME providers for their high level of engagement in this process. We look forward to our continued work together to drive quality in clinicians’ lifelong learning and improve care for the patients we all serve,” said Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, President and CEO, ACCME.
“Recognizing the need to better align the AMA and ACCME’s requirements for CME accreditation and reaccreditation, we believe that our newly adopted proposal will support the evolution of CME to better meet the needs of educators, physicians, and the patients they serve,” said Susan Skochelak, MD, AMA Group Vice President for Medical Education. “We look forward to continuing our work with ACCME on a more streamlined system that benefits providers and patients alike.”
In addition to collaborating on the simplification and alignment, the AMA and ACCME produced a shared glossary of terms and definitions to help clarify terminology for accredited CME providers and learners, developed as part of their alignment efforts and in response to requests from CME providers.