What Is CME: Continuing Medical Education

All Your Questions Answered

The AMA PRA was established in 1968. The related AMA PRA credit system for physicians was developed as the metric to be used in determining qualifications for the AMA PRA.

Over the next two decades, the AMA created other entities to make accreditation decisions. In 1981, six other national organizations formed the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). The seven-member board organizations of the ACCME are: the AMA, the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Hospital Association, the Association for Hospital Medical Education, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Council of Medical Specialty Specialties, and the Federation of State Medical Boards.

Within the United States, the AMA only authorizes organizations that are accredited by the ACCME or by a state medical society recognized by the ACCME, referred to as “accredited CME providers,” to designate and award AMA PRA Category 1 Credit to physicians. With the exception of those activities directly certified by the AMA, individual educational activities must be offered only by accredited CME providers, in accordance with AMA PRA credit system requirements, to be certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

Ethical Underpinnings Of CME

Recognizing the central role of education for the continuing professional development of physicians, Principle V of the Code provides the grounding tenant for CME and medical education, in general:

Principle V. A physician shall continue to study, apply, and advance scientific knowledge, maintain a commitment to medical education, make relevant information available to patients, colleagues, and the public obtain consultation, and use the talents of other health professionals when indicated.

In addition, physicians have certain ethical responsibilities when participating in CME activities, either as a learner, faculty, or planner. Accredited CME providers are encouraged to be familiar with the relevant ethical issues for physicians and ensure that participation in certified CME activities will not encourage or require physicians to violate the AMA ethical guidance. As of the time of this writing, the ethical opinions relevant to CME include 9.2.6 “Continuing Medical Education,” 9.2.7 “Financial Relationships with Industry in Continuing Medical Education,” and 9.6.2 “Gifts to Physicians from Industry,” which can be found in full in the AMA Code of Medical Ethics. Questions regarding the interpretations of these opinions should be addressed to ceja@ama-assn.org.

The AMA expects accredited CME providers to present physicians with commercially unbiased, independent and objective information in all of their activities. Accredited providers must be in compliance with the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support.

CME consists of educational activities which serve to maintain, develop, or increase the knowledge, skills, and professional performance and relationships that a physician uses to provide service for patients, the public or the profession. The content of CME is the body of knowledge and skills generally recognized and accepted by the profession as within the basic medical services, the discipline of clinical medicine, and the provision of health care to the public. (HOD policy #300.988)

Educational Content Of Certified CME

Certified CME is defined as:

Nonpromotional learning activities certified for credit prior to the activity by an organization authorized by the credit system owner, or Nonpromotional learning activities for which the credit system owner directly awards credit.

Format-specific requirements for certifying activities for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit

• Live Activities

• Enduring Materials

• Online interactive educational module, recorded presentation, podcasts

Format-specific requirements for certifying activities for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit ournal-Based CME

• Be a peer-reviewed article

•Test Item Writing

• Manuscript Review

• Performance Improvement Continuing Medical Education

Activities for which AMA PRA Category 1 Credit is awarded directly by the AMA

Teaching at a live activity

• Credit assignment: two (2) AMA PRA Category 1 Credits per one (1) hour of presentation time

Publishing articles

Credit assignment: ten (10) AMA PRA Category 1 Credits per article

Poster presentations

• Credit assignment: five (5) AMA PRA Category 1 Credits per poster

Maintenance of Certification

Documentation: a copy of the board certificate or the specialty board notification letter.

• Credit assignment: sixty (60) AMA PRA Category 1 Credits per poster

What is CME:

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