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Free live Continuing Medical Education

Effective January 2013, all providers seeking accreditation of their live continuing medical education (CME) programs from the European Accreditation Council for CME (EACCME) will have to abide by new requirements set by its parent organization, the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS) at its October meeting in Cyprus. The new criteria parallel those of the US accreditation system and the recommendations of the Good CME Practice Group, an initiative of the European CME Forum.

The European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS) was founded in 1958 with the aim of representing the interests of specialist doctors at an international level. The UEMS is a non-governmental voluntary organization comprising the national medical organizations that represent medical specialists in the European Union and in associated countries. With a current membership of 34 countries, and 39 specialist sections, the UEMS provides for the representation of approximately 1.4 million medical specialists working in Europe.

In announcing the new criteria for live educational events (LEE), Edwin Borman, MB ChB, secretary general of the UEMS, said: “The requirements for Europe are being strengthened, and now move providers to do more, e.g., appropriate needs assessment, targeted educational objectives and some measure of outcomes, as well as full financial disclosure.” Here are some key clauses:

  • The provider must structure the LEE to fulfill defined educational needs for a defined target audience
  • The provider must identify and communicate expected educational impact in a doctor’s practice, and provide for feedback on the extent to which objectives were met
  • The LEE must include methods to promote active learning, including opportunities for audience participation
  • The provider must ensure that all faculty and members of the Scientific and/or Organizing Committee disclose potential or actual conflicts of interest and that actual conflicts have been resolved
  • The source of all funding for the LEE must be declared and available to learners;
  • Content must be free of any sponsor influence and of any form of advertising or bias

The Accreditation of Live Educational Events by the EACCME®

The UEMS established the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (EACCME®), in January 2000, with the aim of encouraging high standards in the development, delivery and harmonization of continuing medical education (CME). This was to be achieved through the international accreditation of CME events, and the establishment of a system for the international acceptance of CME credit points. After just over a decade of function, the UEMS-EACCME® (henceforth EACCME®) accredits around 1400 applications per year for meetings providing international CME. In 2009, the EACCME® introduced a system that provides for the accreditation of e-learning materials.

In its policy paper, from 2001, the Basel Declaration on Continuing Professional Development (CPD), the UEMS defined CPD as “the educative means of updating, developing and enhancing how doctors apply the knowledge, skills and attitudes required in their working lives”. The UEMS remains committed to this concept that encompasses educating medical specialists for the wider responsibilities required for specialist medical practice.

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