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ACCME and AMA Adopt Streamlining and Simplification Proposal

The American Medical Association and the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education are now developing resources to help with implementation.

The proposal to simplify and align continuing medical education requirements that the American Medical Association and the Accreditation Council for CME planted last spring has now come to fruition. Both organizations have agreed to adopt the proposal, which is designed to simplify and align their expectations for accredited CME activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 credit.

Background on the proposal here: AMA and ACCME Want Your Input on New CME Proposal 

Response to the call for comment the AMA and ACCME had issued in April was positive, the ACCME and AMA said in a joint announcement. The majority of respondents endorsed the proposal, which they said would help them ensure their accredited CME activities meet educational standards, remain free of commercial bias, and also encourage them to be more innovative and give them more flexibility.

According to the announcement, “The simplification 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, provided they abide by the AMA’s seven core requirements.” These core requirements align with ACCME’s accreditation requirements, so there are no new rules involved. The AMA also has reduced and simplified its learning format requirements to provide more flexibility for accredited providers. The alignment’s elements address both core requirements and a limited number of format-specific requirements (see details here).

“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 simplifying the system, the new alignment is designed to encourage innovation and experimentation in CME design and delivery.  Providers can now offer blended or new approaches to drive meaningful learning and behavior change, and can designate credits on an hour-per-credit basis using their best estimate of how long it would take to complete the activity, according to the announcement.

“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,” said Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, ACCME president and CEO.

Another outgrowth of the simplification and alignment effort, developed by a Bridge Committee formed by the AMA and ACCME, was a shared glossary of terms and definitions—which also was something CME providers had been asking for.

The organizations now are working on developing a list of FAQs and other implementation resources that are planned for release this fall.

 For more details, visit the AMA/ACCME Simplification and Alignment webpage. To download the shared glossary, click here.


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