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Continuing medical education

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Continuing medical education, as the name suggests, is any educational program that helps physicians and other healthcare providers to gain additional up to date knowledge, education, and skills required in performing their professional duties.

Other names

CME is the abbreviation for Continuing Medical Education

Definition

Continuing medical education is defined as one or more educational activities which serve to maintain, develop, or increase the knowledge, skills, and professional performance and relationships that a physician or other healthcare provider uses to provide services for patients, the public, or the profession.

CME credits

  • In general use, CME refers to educational events that have been approved for CME credits.
  • CME credits are important to physicians because most states in the United States, and most countries in the world require a specified number of credits annually to maintain medical licenses.
  • Also most hospitals require a specified number of credits for their physicians to remain credentialed to see patients.
  • In the United States, CME credits are authorized by the American Medical Association or other accredited CME awards.

Types of CME activities

  • Live activities - CME activity that occurs at a specific time as scheduled by the accredited CME provider where participation may be in person or remotely as is the case of teleconferences or live Internet webinars.
  • These may be offered through a variety of delivery mechanisms; examples include, but are not limited to, national, regional or local conferences, workshops, seminars, regularly scheduled conferences, journal clubs, simulation workshops, structured learning activities presented during a committee meeting and live Internet webinars.

Faculty CME activities=

Faculty credit is a type of live activity for which physicians may earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

There are two types of faculty credit:

Accredited CME providers may choose to certify a live activity to award AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ to faculty for an original presentation(s) at a live activity that is designated for such credit. If the providers choose not to offer faculty credit, physicians may claim this credit directly from the AMA.

Accredited CME providers that are also accredited by either the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and/or Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) may certify a live activity to award AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ to faculty to recognize the learning that occurs in the preparation for teaching residents and/or medical students.

Printed or other materials

Enduring materials – CME activities that endure over a specified time such as print, audio, video and Internet materials, such as monographs, podcasts, CD-ROMs, DVDs, archived webinars, as well as other web-based activities.

Journal-based CME - CME activity in which an article, within a peer-reviewed, professional journal, is certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ prior to publication of the journal.

Test item writing – CME activity wherein physicians learn through their contribution to the development of high stakes examinations, or certain peer-reviewed self-assessment activities, by researching, drafting and defending potential questions for examinations given by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) or a member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), or for peer reviewed, published, self-assessment educational activities from a national medical specialty society. This must be a robust process which includes participation in a group peer review.

Manuscript review (for journals) – CME activity in which a physician learns through the critical review of an assigned journal manuscript. The review must be of an original contribution for publication in a medical journal indexed by MEDLINE which requires multiple reviewers, and must be deemed acceptable by the editor.

Performance improvement CME (PI CME) – CME activity in which an accredited CME provider structures a long-term three-stage process by which a physician or group of physicians learn about specific performance measures, assess their practice using the selected performance measures, implement interventions to improve performance related to these measures over a useful interval of time, and then reassess their practice using the same performance measures. A PI CME activity may address any facet (structure, process or outcome) of a physician’s practice with direct implications for patient care.

Internet point of care learning - CME activity structured by an accredited CME provider in which a physician engages in self-directed, online learning on topics relevant to their clinical practice. Learning for this activity includes a reflective process in which a physician must document their clinical question, the sources consulted and the application to practice.

All activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ by an accredited CME provider must meet all requirements for one of the above learning formats as well as the AMA’s core requirements for all activity formats.

Other CME activities

The following are educational activities for which AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ is awarded directly by the AMA. Physicians who complete learning for the activities listed below can claim AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ directly from the AMA.

Medically-Related Advanced Degree: A maximum of 25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ may be earned for obtaining a medically related advanced degree, such as a master's or Ph.D., degree in public health or in a clinical field related to medicine. (Note: this credit is not available if the academic program is certified as individual courses for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™).

Published Papers: A maximum limit of one (1) article or 10 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ can be claimed per year for one (1) article by the lead author (first listed) of a peer-reviewed article published in a journal that is included in the MEDLINE bibliographic database.

Poster Presentations: A maximum limit of one (1) poster presentation or 5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ can be claimed per year for one (1) poster presentation that is included in the published abstracts for a conference designated for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™.

Other educational activities

Residency and Fellowship Programs: Residents and fellows are allowed six hours of CME for each month of postgraduate residency or clinical fellowship in a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

Teaching or Presenting a CME Course: A maximum of one-third of the required CME hours may be satisfied by teaching or otherwise presenting a course or program that meets the requirements to offer CME.

Specialty Board Examination: A physician who takes and passes a certifying or recertifying examination administered by a recognized specialty board is granted 100 hours of CME credit for four consecutive years.

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