Guidelines for Accredited Continuing Education
Guidelines Heading link
As a provider of accredited continuing education, the Office of CME follows the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) Standards for Independence and Integrity to ensure that accredited continuing education achieves the following:
- Ensures that accredited continuing education serves the needs of patients and the public.
- Presents learners with only accurate, balanced, scientifically justified recommendations.
- Assures healthcare professionals and teams can trust accredited continuing education to deliver safe, cost-effective, compassionate care based on best practice and evidence.
- Creates a clear, unbridgeable separation between accredited continuing education and marketing and sales.
Standards Heading link
Standard 1: Ensure Content is Valid
Education must be fair and balanced and clinical content presented must support safe, effective patient care.
- All recommendations for patient care in accredited continuing education must be based on current science, evidence, and clinical reasoning, while giving a fair and balanced view of diagnostic and therapeutic options.
- All scientific research referred to, reported, or used in accredited education in support or justification of a patient care recommendation must conform to the generally accepted standards of experimental design, data collection, analysis, and interpretation.
- Although accredited continuing education is an appropriate place to discuss, debate, and explore new and evolving topics, these areas need to be clearly identified as such within the program and individual presentations. It is the responsibility of accredited providers to facilitate engagement with these topics without advocating for, or promoting, practices that are not, or not yet adequately based on current science, evidence, and clinical reasoning.
- Organizations cannot be accredited if they advocate for unscientific approaches to diagnosis or therapy, or if their education promotes recommendations, treatment, or manners of practicing healthcare that are determined to have risks or dangers that outweigh the benefits or are known to be ineffective in the treatment of patient.
Standard 2: Prevent Commercial Bias and Marketing in Accredited Continuing Education
Accredited continuing education must protect learners from commercial bias and marketing.
- All decisions related to the planning, faculty selection, delivery, and evaluation of accredited education must be made without any influence or involvement from the owners and employees of an ineligible company.
- Accredited education must be free of marketing or sales of products or services. Faculty must not actively promote or sell products or services that serve their professional or financial interests during accredited education.
- The accredited provider may not share the names of contact information of learners with any ineligible company or its agents without the explicit consent of the individual learner.
Standard 3: Identify, Mitigate, and Disclose Relevant Financial Relationships
Relevant financial relationships may not influence accredited continuing education. Financial relationships of any dollar amount are defined as relevant if the educational content is related to the business lines or products of the ineligible company.
- Information on all financial relationships within the prior 24 months, regardless of the amount, with ineligible companies, must be collected from faculty, planners, and others in control of educational content.
- Owners and employees of ineligible companies must be excluded from controlling content or participating as planner or faculty in accredited education with three exceptions: when the content of the activity is not related to the business lines or products of their employer/company; when the content of the accredited is limited to basic science research and no recommendations are made; when owners/employees are participating as technicians to teach safe and proper use of medical devices, and do not recommend whether or when a device is used.
- Financial disclosures are reviewed to determine which relationships are relevant.
- Financial relationships determined to be relevant must be mitigated to prevent inserting commercial bias into content. Mitigation must occur prior to an individual assuming a role in accredited continuing education.
- Disclosure of all relevant financial relationships must be made to learners before the start of an accredited continuing education. Disclosures must include the name(s) of the individual(s) with relevant financial relationships; the names of the ineligible companies with which they have relationships; the nature of the relationship; a statement that all relevant financial relationships have been mitigated.
- Disclosure made to learners must not include the corporate or product logos, trade names, or product group messages of an ineligible company.
- Disclosure must be made to learners on the absence of relevant financial relationships for all individuals in control of educational content before the start of an accredited continuing education activity.
- Disclosure of financial relationships is not required for accredited continuing education that is non-clinical e.g., leadership or communication skills training, where the learner group is in control of educational content e.g., spontaneous case conversation among peers; self-directed education where the learner controls their educational goals and reports on changes that resulted e.g., learning from teaching.
Standard 4: Manage Commercial Support Appropriately
Accredited providers that accept commercial support (both financial and in-kind) from ineligible companies must ensure that accredited continuing education remains independent of the ineligible company and that support does not result in commercial bias or commercial influence.
- All decisions regarding receipt and disbursement of commercial support must be made by the accredited provider i.e., UICOM Department
- Ineligible companies must not pay directly for any expenses related to accredited continuing education.
- Commercial support may not be used to pay for honoraria or for travel expenses incurred by faculty, planners, and others in control of educational content.
- Commercial support may not be used to pay for travel, lodging, honoraria, or personal expenses of learners or learner groups.
- The terms, conditions, and purposes of commercial support must be documented in an agreement between the accredited provider i.e., UICOM Department and ineligible company. The agreement must be executed prior to the start of the accredited continuing education activity.
- The accredited provider must maintain a record of the amount of commercial support received and its use. Accounting must be available upon request by the accredited provider or ineligible company.
- The accredited provider must disclose the name(s) of the ineligible company(ies) that provided commercial support and the nature of the support, prior to the start of the accredited continuing education activity. Disclosures may not include the ineligible company(ies) corporate or product logo(s), trade name(s), or product group messages.
Standard 5: Manage Ancillary Activities Offered in Conjunction with Accredited Continuing Education
Accredited providers are responsible for ensuring that education is separate from marketing by ineligible companies, including advertising, sales, exhibits, and promotion from nonaccredited education offered in conjunction with accredited continuing education.
- Arrangements to allow ineligible companies to market or exhibit in conjunction with accredited continuing education may not influence any decisions related to planning, delivery, and evaluation of the education; interfere with the presentation of education; be a condition of the provision of financial or in-kind support from ineligible companies for the education.
- Learners must be able to easily distinguish between accredited education and other activities.
- Marketing, exhibits, and nonaccredited education from an ineligible company may not occur within the educational space 30 minutes before and after accredited continuing education takes place. Activities part of the event but not accredited, must be clearly labeled and communicated as such.
- Learners may not be presented with marketing during accreditation continuing education that occurs online or in-print. Learners must be able to engage with accredited continuing education without having to click through, watch, listen to, or be presented with product promotion or product-specific advertisement.
- Educational materials that are part of accredited education (such as slides, abstracts, handouts, evaluation mechanisms, or disclosure information) must not contain any marketing produced by or for an ineligible company, including corporate or product logos, trade names, or product group messages.
- Information distributed about accredited education that does not include educational content, such as schedules and logistical information, may include marketing by or for an ineligible company.
- Ineligible companies may not provide access to, or distribute, accredited education to learners.