Life Science Compliance Update

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October 12, 2017

AMA/ACCME Alignment Implementation Now Live


The American Medical Association (AMA) and the ACCME are working together to develop a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ), instructions for designating credit, and other resources that will be available by the end of September. These resources will support CME providers’ implementation of the simplification and alignment of the requirements for accredited CME activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. The resources are posted here.

As previously announced, the simplification is reflective of the AMA and ACCME’s shared values and is designed to encourage innovation and flexibility in accredited CME while continuing to ensure that certified activities meet education standards and are independent of commercial influence. It is aimed at allowing accredited CME providers to introduce and blend new instructional practices and learning formats that are appropriate to their learners and setting.

The Framework was implemented based on feedback from the community and a review of the AMA PRA Category 1 Credit requirements. The alignment is designed to encourage innovation and flexibility, while ensuring that activities are independent and educationally appropriate. Accredited CME providers can introduce and blend new instructional practices and formats appropriate to their learners and setting, as long as they abide by the core requirements. CME providers may designate an activity format as “other” if it does not fall into one of the established format categories, without asking permission from the AMA. For these activities, providers can designate credits on an hour-per-credit basis, using their best reasonable estimate of the time required to complete the activity. The ACCME will modify the Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS) to enable providers to enter “other” as an activity type.

The core requirements for activities are:

  1. The CME activity must conform to the AMA/ACCME definition of CME.
    2. The CME activity must address an educational need (knowledge, competence or performance) that underlies the professional practice gaps of that activity’s learners.
    3. The CME activity must present content appropriate in depth and scope for the intended physician learners.
    4. When appropriate to the activity and the learners, the accredited provider should communicate the identified educational purpose and/or objectives for the activity, and provide clear instructions on how to successfully complete the activity.
    5. The CME activity must utilize one or more learning methodologies appropriate to the activity’s educational purpose and/or objectives.
    6. The CME activity must provide an assessment of the learner that measures achievement of the educational purpose and/or objective of the activity.
    7. The CME activity must be planned and implemented in accordance with the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support: Standards to Ensure Independence in CME Activities.

Some general tips are included below.

  • The simplification applies to all providers in the ACCME System, including state-accredited and ACCME-accredited-providers.
  • The AMA core requirements and ACCME accreditation requirements are aligned—and do not represent any new rules for accredited CME providers.
  • The AMA has simplified and reduced its learning format requirements to provide more flexibility for CME providers.
  • CME providers may design and deliver certified activities that use blended or new approaches to drive meaningful learning and change, as long as the provider abides by the AMA requirements.
  • CME providers may designate an activity format as “other” if it does not fall into one of the established format categories.

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