Policy on Continuing Medical Education
Since its founding in 1981, the ACCME has focused on setting and maintaining accreditation requirements that are relevant to physicians’ lifelong learning needs and responsive to changes in the health care environment. The purpose of the ACCME accreditation requirements is to set expectations for accredited providers that ensure CME is independent, based on valid content, and contributes to health care improvement for patients and their communities.
The ACCME develops and updates its accreditation requirements through a deliberative process that includes reviewing and analyzing relevant research and obtaining feedback from multiple constituents, including accredited providers.
There are three parts to ACCME accreditation requirements: the Accreditation Criteria, the ACCME Standards for Commercial SupportSM, and the ACCME Policies.
For your convenience, we have created a compilation of the accreditation requirements in one document. The PDF includes the ACCME Accreditation Criteria, the ACCME Standards for Commercial SupportSM: Standards to Ensure Independence in CME Activities, and the ACCME Policies.
The Accreditation Criteria
Released in 2006, the Accreditation Criteria are based on a learner-centered, continuous improvement model of CME. The Accreditation Criteria call on accredited providers to offer educational activities that address physicians’ real-world practice needs, whether their scope of practice is in clinical care, research, health care administration, or other areas of medicine. The Criteria state that CME programs should be designed to change either physicians’ competence, by teaching them strategies for translating new knowledge into action, or physicians’ performance (what they actually do in practice), or patient outcomes. Accredited providers must also evaluate their programs’ effectiveness in achieving these goals.
The 2006 Accreditation Criteria build on two earlier sets of accreditation guidelines. The first set, called the Seven Essentials and established in 1982, laid the foundation for an accreditation system. They required providers to create CME mission statements, use a needs assessment process to plan educational activities, develop educational objectives for each activity, and evaluate the effectiveness of their overall CME programs.
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