Life Science Compliance Update

October 12, 2017

AMA/ACCME Alignment Implementation Now Live

Amaaccme

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.

August 23, 2017

AMA and ACCME Announce Simplification of Credit and Accreditation Systems

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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.

July 17, 2017

CME Continues to Grow and Evolve

Accme

The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®) recently released the ACCME Data Report: Growth and Evolution in Continuing Medical Education — 2016. The 2016 report includes data from a community of over 1,800 accredited continuing medical education (CME) providers that offer physicians and healthcare teams an array of resources to promote quality, safety, and the evolution of healthcare.

Key Report Takeaways
The report highlights the fact that CME is a vibrant – and growing – community. Last year, ACCME along with more than 1,800 accredited CME providers offered close to 159,000 educational activities, comprising more than one million hours of instruction and interactions with 27 million health care professionals.

Since 2015, the number of educational events has increased 7% while hours of instruction increased by 9% and interactions with clinicians increased by 5%. Even more impressive, the number of activities and interactions have increased each year since 2010, despite some consolidation among CME providers.

The numbers of physician interactions have either increased over the years, or remained stable. The number of interactions with non-physician health care professionals such as nurses, physician assistants, and pharmacists shows steady growth.

Accredited CME providers represent a range of organizations from national physician membership organizations to rural hospitals. Some specialize in local, community-based health issues, others focus on national and international health priorities, and others advance interprofessional continuing education (IPCE) and team-based care. The ACCME recently began accrediting organizations outside the US, and this report includes their data as well.

The geographic distribution and diversity of CME providers means that clinicians and teams have access to education where they live and work that addresses local, national, and international healthcare priorities.

“Every day, across the country, clinicians can choose from more than 3,000 hours of accredited CME. Accredited CME is a tremendous resource — offering clinicians, educators, and health leaders the power and capacity to address many of the challenges we face in our changing healthcare environment,” said Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, President and CEO, ACCME.

In his introduction to the report, Dr. McMahon also noted,

I’m delighted about the growth because it means that clinicians are increasingly engaged in education that promotes quality, safety, and the evolution of healthcare. Behind the numbers in the ACCME Data Report are educators who work every day to engage clinicians where they live, work, and learn. CME providers are creating “educational homes” that tackle health challenges while nurturing the professional development — and passion — of clinicians and teams.

He continues,

As this report demonstrates, accredited CME aims at changing more than knowledge—CME providers design and evaluate activities for meaningful change in skills, performance, and patient health outcomes. Organizations ranging from small, rural hospitals to national institutions such as the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have recognized the value of accredited CME in advancing public health imperatives.

Dr. McMahon created a video introduction to the data, which can be found here.

Excel tables with data used to create reports can be found here.

ACCME Data Report Addendum can be found here.

ACCME Data Report Addendum Excel tables can be found here

 

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