Continuing Medical Education (CME) refers to a specific form of Continuing Education (CE) that helps those in the medical field maintain competence and learn about new and developing areas of their field. These activities may take place as live events, written publications, online programs, audio, video, or other electronic media. Content for these programs is developed, reviewed, and delivered by faculty who are experts in their individual clinical areas. Similar to the process used in academic journals, any potentially conflicting financial relationships for faculty members must be both disclosed and resolved in a meaningful way.
In the United States, many states require CME for medical professionals to maintain their licenses. For example, Texas requires 24 hours of CME every two years according to the Texas Medical Association. The associations that certificates are accepted as equivalent are American Medical Association Physician’s Recognition Award (AMA PRA), American Academy of Family Practice (AAFP), American Osteopathic Association (AOA). 12 hours must be done in Category 1 with at least 1 hour in ethics/professional responsibility through the American Medical Association (AMA), American Osteopathic Association (AOA), American Academy of Family Practice (AAFP), and/or American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). For a complete list of requirements by state, see State Medical Licensure Requirements and Statistics, 2006. Within the United States, CME for physicians is regulated by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) and the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).
The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) sets and enforces standards in physician education within the United States. It acts as the overseeing body for continuing medical education (CME) credit, which is offered through its constituent member organizations.
The Council’s seven member organizations are the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the American Hospital Association (AHA), the American Medical Association (AMA), the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the Association for Hospital Medical Education (AHME), the Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS), and the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB). The ACCME’s mission is to provide those in the medical field with opportunities to maintain competence and learn about new and developing areas of their field. A voluntary self-regulated system and a peer-review process are used to regulate and accredit medical education providers.
The primary responsibilities of the ACCME are to:
- accredit institutions and organizations offering CME
- define criteria for evaluation of educational programs and ensure compliance with these standards
- develop methods for measuring the effectiveness of CME and its accreditation