What is the Value of Accredited Continuing Medical Education (CME)?

All Your Questions Answered

Definition of CME

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 services for patients, the public, or the profession.” (as defined by the American Medical Association [AMA])

The educational content within a CME activity must represent the body of knowledge and skills generally recognized and accepted within the profession as within

  1. the basic medical sciences
  2. the discipline of clinical medicine, and
  3. the provision of healthcare to the public. (AMA-HOD Policy #300.988).

What is Accredited CME?

Not everything promoted as CME is accredited CME (or sometimes, referred to as “certified” CME).

Only organizations that meet AMA and ACCME (Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education) standards and requirements can offer activities that are accredited CME. Adherence to these standards by these organizations (known as accredited CME providers) ensures that the CME activities are independent (ie, free of commercial influence) and “accelerate learning, change, and improvement in healthcare.”

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™.

What can physicians expect from Accredited CME?

Physicians rely on accredited CME as one of the support systems that helps them drive improvements in practice and optimize the care, health, and wellness of patients. Physicians can also count on accredited CME to provide a protected space for them to learn and teach without commercial influence. Accredited CME addresses every medical specialty, covering the full range of topics important to healthcare improvement. Whether physicians work in clinical care, research, healthcare administration, executive leadership, or other areas of medicine, accredited CME is designed to be relevant to their needs, practice-based, and effective.

Only those educational activities designated as accredited CME provide the types of credits (AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™) accepted by state medical boards and other organizations that help physicians maintain their licensure, certifications, credentialing, membership in professional societies, and other professional privileges.

Ethical Underpinnings of CME

The AMA Principles of Medical Ethics, which are part of the more extensive AMA Code of Medical Ethics (Code), are standards of conduct that define the essentials of honorable physician behavior. These ethical statements were developed primarily for the benefit of the patient and recognize the physician’s responsibility to patients first and foremost, as well as to society, to other health professionals, and to him/herself.

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.

Educational Content Of Certified CME

Types of Accredited CME (Learning Formats)

Accredited CME activities may be held in one or more of the following formats:

• Live Activities

• Enduring Material – All current Audio-Digest activities fall under this category

A printed, recorded, or computer-presented activity that endures over a specified time and does not have a specific time or location designated for participation; rather, the participant determines whether and when to complete the activity. (Examples include: recorded presentation, podcast, online interactive educational module)

• Journal-based CME

•Test Item Writing

• Manuscript Review

• Performance Improvement Continuing Medical Education (PI CME)

•Internet Point-of-Care (POC) Learning

• Other

How do I know if an activity is Accredited CME?

All accredited CME activities will have an Accreditation Statement and Designation Statement within the activity that verifies the organization’s status as an Accredited CME Provider as well as the number of AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ for which the activity is designated. The accredited CME provider for all AudioDigest accredited CME activities is Lippincott Continuing Medical Education Institute, Inc (a sister organization in the Wolters Kluwer Health group). The following statements appear on all our activities as well as on our website and promotional materials*:

Accreditation Statement

The Lippincott Continuing Medical Education Institute is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Designation Statement

The Lippincott Continuing Medical Education Institute designates this enduring material activity for up to XX.xx AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.

*Note that any AudioDigest activities published prior to January 1, 2021 may have a previous version of the accreditation statement that refers to Audio Digest Foundation as the accredited provider. More detailed information on AudioDigest accreditation credentials is available at AudioDigest's Accreditation.

Accredited CME with MOC (Maintenance of Certification)

Initial Certification
Once licensed to practice medicine in their state, many physicians also opt to become certified in their specialty. To attain Initial Certification, the physician must meet certain requirements set by the ABMS (American Board of Medical Specialties) and the particular specialty board.

Continuous Certification/Maintenance of Certification (MOC)
The principles of certification -- professionalism, lifelong learning, assessment, patient safety, and quality improvement – do not end with initial certification. Physicians who wish to remain certified in their specialty must meet continuing education requirements that are set by the certifying boards.

Physicians can earn credit toward meeting these continuous certification requirements by participating in accredited CME activities that count for MOC.

AudioDigest is committed to offering the value-added benefit of accredited CME that counts for MOC…specifically MOC Part 2 (often referred to as Self-Assessment). Details on AudioDigest activities that provide both CME and MOC credit are available at AudioDigest's Accreditation (click on the Physicians tab and scroll down to the MOC section).

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