Life Science Compliance Update

March 19, 2018

ACCME Announces New Collaboration with ABPath

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The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) and the American Board of Pathology (ABPath) are pleased to announce a new collaboration to simplify the integration of accredited continuing medical education (CME) and Continuous Certification (formerly referred to as Maintenance of Certification).

The ACCME and ABPath share a commitment to supporting pathologists’ continuing professional development and to improving pathologists’ performance and their care of patients. The collaboration is designed to expand the number and diversity of accredited CME activities that meet the ABPath’s Continuous Certification requirements and to streamline the process for accredited CME providers and ABPath diplomates. The ACCME and ABPath pursued this collaboration in response to the needs and requests of diplomates and of accredited CME providers that support pathologists’ lifelong learning and improvement.

The collaboration with ABPath continues the ACCME’s commitment to supporting the goals of Continuous Certification and Maintenance of Certification. The ACCME has also developed collaborations with the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA), the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), and the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP).

Under this collaboration, all accredited providers must clearly indicate to learners that the activity has been registered to offer credit in the ABPath Continuous Certification materials and brochures (not applicable to initial, save-the-date type activity announcements). The language shall note what type of credit is available (i.e., Lifelong Learning (Part II), Self-Assessment Module (SAM), and/or Improvement in Medical Practice (Part IV))and the number of credits.

All accredited CME providers in the ACCME System already use the Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS) to enter data about each of their CME activities. CME providers now have the option to also use PARS to register activities that began on or after January 1, 2018 for ABPath Continuous Certification. CME providers that choose to participate will use PARS to attest their activities’ compliance with ABPath Continuous Certification requirements. 

Comments from Leadership

“The ABPath is committed to a meaningful and relevant Continuous Certification program that demonstrates to the public and the profession that our diplomates are current in their medical knowledge and are continually striving to improve their practice and provide excellent patient care. Our partnership with ACCME and CME providers is another initiative to strengthen our Continuous Certification program and provide a service to our diplomates that facilitates their participation in the program, “ said Rebecca L. Johnson, MD, CEO, American Board of Pathology (ABPath). 

“We share a common mission with our colleagues at ABPath to facilitate the continuing professional development of physicians. We celebrate our collaboration because it will generate more opportunities for accredited CME providers to deliver relevant, effective, independent, practice-based education that counts for ABPath Continuous Certification. I look forward to working with ABPath, our community of accredited CME providers, and our community of diplomates to leverage the power of education to drive quality in our medical profession and improve care for the patients we all serve, said Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, President and CEO, Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME).

February 21, 2018

ACCME Releases Report Highlighting 2017 Successes

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The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) recently released a new report, Transforming Continuing Medical Education Together: 2017 Highlights from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education. The inaugural year-in-review report showcases the efforts of the ACCME and the continuing medical education (CME) community to leverage the power of education to respond to the changing healthcare environment. 

The report aims to celebrate the CME community’s initiatives to drive meaningful change for educators, clinicians, and ultimately patients, including: 

  • The Menu of Criteria for Accreditation with Commendation which represents the CME community’s vision of the future of education. From engaging with students, patients, and teams to tackling population and public health issues, CME providers that meet these criteria demonstrate the capacity of education to address healthcare challenges. 
  • Expanded opportunities for physicians to participate in education that counts for multiple requirements, thus reducing burdens and allowing clinicians more flexibility in choosing education that meets their needs, as a result of collaborations between accreditors, certifying boards, and educators. 
  • Freedom and flexibility in employing blended, new, and innovative approaches to education through the alignment of ACCME/American Medical Association requirements. 
  • Collaborations with other organizations, including the nursing and pharmacy accreditor colleagues to initiate a new IPCE credit mark that identifies education designed to improve team collaboration and patient care, helping to increase recognition for interprofessional continuing education (IPCE).
  • Increased engagement with healthcare leaders to promote the value of CME as a strategy to fulfil institutional and health system priorities.
  • Becoming a model of accreditation standards for other CME systems and providers around the world.

The report also describes the ACCME’s commitment to supporting the CME community. With its new annual meeting and online learning portal, as well as other educational offerings, the ACCME aims to build a community of practice that assists CME professionals in achieving their full potential. 

The ACCME published Transforming Continuing Medical Education Together as part of its efforts to build visibility for the CME community and communicate the value of accreditation and accredited CME.  

Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, ACCME President and CEO said, “The CME community has much to be proud of. We look forward to continuing our work together, as we fulfill our shared aspiration to enhance education, drive improvements in clinician and team performance, and—most important—to optimize care for the patients we all serve.”  

January 30, 2018

CME Continues to Evolve for Providers and Practitioners

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Several articles about continuing medical education (CME) were recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). One article discussed the importance of regulatory alignment with the boards while the other discussed the proposed CME pyramid.

CME Pyramid

Medical education is an evolving field and as of late, there has been an increased focus on addressing professional practice gaps – the gaps between what physicians are doing and what they should be doing. Therefore, an outcomes framework has been proposed in the form of a pyramid that provides perspective on how addressing these practice gaps may be accomplished.

Pyramid

According to the article, “[t]he pyramid is based on 7 levels of outcomes that are associated with the decisions of a clinician to participate in learning, to engage in learning, to use what he or she learned, and, at the summit, the effects of learning on patients and community. CME has traditionally been focused on learning (level 3) and in some cases on competence (level 4), which is similar to the “shows how” level of the pyramid in which a learner demonstrates to a teacher that he or she can do what has been learned.”

The article further notes, “It could be argued that if CME contributes to improving patient health on a broad front, such that many patients and many diseases are affected, then community health, that is, population health, must necessarily improve,” which is the impetus behind the push for all physicians and health care providers to be current on their education and continue learning for the benefit of their patients.

Cultural differences also plays a role in practice gaps and an analysis of health care in different countries shows how evident cultural differences are and that gaps in knowledge happen in developed countries like the United States and the United Kingdom.

The article also notes, however, that improvement cannot be achieved by CME alone, but will require the involvement of many different organizations. For example, this year the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is proposing completion of an accredited CME program directed at performance or quality improvement. This Clinical Practice Improvement Activity must address a quality or safety gap that is supported by a needs assessment. The proposal has been endorsed by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, which is now collaborating with the American Board of Medical Specialties to facilitate the integration of CME and maintenance of certification.

The CME pyramid works to bring each of the individual groups together to create a comprehensive solution to physician and provider education.  

Innovation through Regulatory Alignment

The President and CEO of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, and the Vice President for Medical Education at the American Medical Association (AMA), Susan Skochelak, MD, co-authored a piece published in JAMA on how to promote innovation through the regulatory framework. The article discussed the collaboration between the ACCME and the AMA to establish and credit CME activities in an attempt to support clinicians and developing learning opportunities.

The authors discussed the way the two groups collaborated on a strategy “to more closely align the 2 organizations’ requirements, simplify the system, and eliminate any barriers (perceived or real) that would constrain innovation in educational delivery. To develop their approach, the organizations convened listening sessions with various groups (including staff, volunteers, and leadership from accredited organizations and state medical societies), gathering feedback from physicians and educators about how to reconstruct the system to better support the evolution of CME.” It was through this process that a joint construct was formed.

“As part of the alignment, the AMA simplified and reduced its learning format requirements. There were previously specific requirements for 7 formats; now, there are specific requirements for only 3 formats: enduring materials, journal-based CME, and performance improvement CME. In addition, the requirements for these 3 format types were simplified, so that learning is prioritized. For example, the familiar posttests can be replaced with a self-reflective statement about what has been learned and how the learner plans to change; the outcome measure for a quality improvement effort can be locally determined.”

This flexibility will help physicians and CME providers alike learn more and be able to achieve more through CME.

To that end, the ACCME, in collaboration with the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education and the American Nurses Credentialing Center, created the first joint accreditation system to facilitate interprofessional continuing education. This program can serve as a model for accreditors in the health professions for developing systems that promote and facilitate team-based education by removing barriers between professions and expanding the delivery of interprofessional continuing education to facilitate measurable improvements in team performance.

McMahon and Skochelak noted that the success of this construct and the continuing success of CME is going to mean continuing evolution – including identifying needs and gaps in CME and adopting approaches that reflect “the same innovative spirit and nimbleness” expected of educational providers.

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