The ACCME adopted changes that included the simplification, elimination, and modification of some of the accreditation requirements. The purpose of the changes was to streamline the accreditation system while maintaining high standards and continuing to support CME as a strategic asset to healthcare improvement initiatives.
New—April 2015: Accredited CME providers may now use tabs, links, or other electronic mechanisms to transmit disclosure information to learners for CME activities as required by Standard for Commercial Support 6: Disclosures Relevant to Potential Commercial Bias. This modification only affects how providers are evaluated for compliance—there are no changes to the disclosure requirements. For more information, see “ACCME Makes Expectations for Disclosure Methods Consistent across Activity Types,” and this FAQ.
Reminder—Commercial Interest Logos Must Be Removed from Disclosure by May 2015
The ACCME modified its requirements to prohibit the inclusion of ACCME-defined commercial interest logos in educational materials and disclosures of commercial support. While the change was effective immediately (April 2014), we did not expect accredited providers to change or reprint any materials that existed at the time of the announcement. Accredited providers are expected to make any necessary changes to CME materials by May 2015. For more information, please see Ask ACCME Q&A about Commercial Interest Logos.
Listening to Stakeholders
The changes reflect the ACCME’s ongoing process of engagement with the CME and stakeholder community. The changes were based on the ACCME Board of Directors’ strategic planning, the ACCME’s experience evaluating providers under the 2006 Accreditation Criteria and analysis of accreditation data, and feedback from stakeholders.
The number of criteria required for accreditation was reduced from 15 to 12, one policy was eliminated, and six policies were modified. The changes simplify the process for accredited providers and offer greater flexibility, while retaining the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle which is integral to the ACCME’s expectations.
The changes include:
- Simplifying and removing some of the Accreditation Criteria and policy requirements
- Implementing the prohibition against using ACCME-defined commercial interest logos in disclosure of commercial support
- Changing terminology from “joint sponsorship” to “joint providership”
- Offering providers an abstract as an ACCME-approved tool to use when verifying performance-in-practice
- Simplifying the process for organizations applying for initial accreditation
Changes Apply to All Providers
These changes apply to all CME providers within the ACCME accreditation system, including providers directly accredited by the ACCME and those accredited by ACCME Recognized Accreditors (state or territory medical societies that are recognized by the ACCME as accreditors of state-accredited CME providers). Recognized Accreditors are responsible for implementing these changes for state-accredited providers. Please check with your accreditor about the implementation process.
For more information, including descriptions of the specific changes, please see these resources.
“Continuing the Separation of Education from Promotion: Prohibiting the Use of Commercial Interest Logos in Commercial Support Disclosure,” a video commentary with Murray Kopelow, MD, ACCME President and CEO
The Accreditation Requirements and Descriptions of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME): A PDF compilation of the ACCME accreditation requirements
Implementation of Changes
The changes became effective immediately after they were announced (in Feburary and April 2014).
- Elimination of requirements: Accredited providers will no longer be evaluated for compliance with the requirements that have been eliminated.
- Prohibition against using ACCME-defined commercial interest logos in disclosure: We do not expect accredited providers to change or reprint any materials that currently exist. Accredited providers will be expected to make any necessary changes to CME materials by May 2015.
- Change in terminology: We do not expect accredited providers to change or reprint any materials that currently exist. We expect accredited providers to use the term “joint providership” for new materials published after January 1, 2015. Please note that this change in terminology applies to accreditation statements for jointly provided activities as well as other materials.
- Accreditation process: Providers will have the option of using an abstract to verify performance-in-practice or to continue using labels.
- Initial applicants: Organizations applying for Provisional Accreditation will no longer be required to have an on-site survey. Surveys are still required; conference calls are the standard interview format the ACCME currently uses. Initial applicants and accreditors continue to have the option of using other survey formats including video conference and face-to-face, if circumstances warrant it.
Accredited Providers: What This Means for You
Regardless of where you are in the accreditation process, you will no longer be evaluated for compliance with any requirements that have been eliminated.
- If you have already submitted materials for reaccreditation, you do not need to resubmit or change those materials. The ACCME will ensure that you will not be reviewed for any requirements that have been eliminated.
- If you are preparing for reaccreditation, do not change any of the materials you have already prepared or are in the process of preparing. The ACCME will ensure that you will not be reviewed for any requirements that have been eliminated.
- If you are in a future accreditation cohort, you will not need to submit materials related to compliance for the requirements that have been eliminated.
For more information, please see this Ask ACCME Q&A.
Resources for the Accreditation Process
The following accreditation materials have been updated to reflect the simplification changes. Please note that you do not need to resubmit any accreditation materials or change any materials that you are preparing. The ACCME will ensure that you will not be reviewed for any requirements that have been eliminated.
The materials listed above are also aggregated here.
More Background Information
Call for Comment Summary and Responses—Simplifying the Accreditation Requirements and Process: This PDF includes the summary and analysis of the responses, the ACCME Board of Directors decision, the full text of the responses, and the call for comment survey.
Simplification Proposal - Revisiting the ACCME Requirements & Process: A video commentary with Murray Kopelow, MD, ACCME President and CEO, explaining the background and rationale for the proposed changes.
Proposal for Simplifying and Evolving the Accreditation Requirements and Process, May 2013: This PDF includes contains an introduction, cover letter, and the current full text of the ACCME accreditation requirements, with the proposed changes highlighted, so that you can see them in context, accompanied by explanations.
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