What data about my CME activities am I required to enter into PARS?
PARS is a Web-based application that stores CME activity and program data for your accredited organization. The data that PARS stores includes both required as well as optional fields. The required fields are comprised of the same data that the ACCME has required accredited providers to retain for accreditation purposes since November 2008.
The PARS data set – that is, the data for each CME activity that PARS can accept – includes a set number of fields, which are described in Appendix A of the “Tab Delimited File Upload Instructions.” In the Upload Instructions, you will see a table listing each of the data set fields. Let’s take a look and see what this table tells us about each field. Please note that these instructions—and the data fields may change over time. The examples that follow serve as a general illustration for how you may best use these resources.
In the first column, we see a number that corresponds to each of the fields, in numerical order.
The next column is the “Field Name” – you may notice that these descriptors are the same as those found in the Activities tab of the PARS application itself. Be sure to visit the ACCME website for helpful information regarding these fields.
The next column is very important – and indicates the format requirements for this particular PARS data field. For the “Reporting Year” field, we see that the format requirement is a 4-digit year. However, if we look at another data field – let’s say the “Activity Date” field here – we see that the format requirement for this field is the date of the activity specifically in month/date/year format with slashes as shown. So, this “Type/Format” column is very important for you to recognize, because if your activity data is not properly formatted in this way, you will receive errors when you try to upload it into PARS.
The next two columns indicate whether data is required for this particular field in order to either “Open” or “Close” an activity record. PARS requires some minimum information to add an activity to the database initially or “Open” an activity. PARS considers an activity record “Closed” only after the full data set of required fields has been entered. For more information about “Open” and “Closed” activities, refer to the PARS Questions and Answers in the “Ask ACCME” section of the ACCME Web site.
The next column in the table provides a brief description to help the user understand what kind of information the ACCME is expecting for the field.
The last column is also important for you to take note of – it provides an example of the data that would be found in this field. For this “Reporting Year” field, we see that the year is entered as a four-digit integer.
Now that we’ve had a good introduction to the data set that PARS expects, let’s learn more about the method you’ll use to upload data from multiple activities into PARS.