Accreditation Council for CME President and CEO Calls for Transformation of Continuing Medical Education in NEJM Perspective

“What Do I Need to Learn Today? — The Evolution of CME” by Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, Describes Vision for Driving Innovation in Postgraduate Education

The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®) is pleased to announce the publication of “What Do I Need to Learn Today? — The Evolution of CME,” by Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, President and CEO, ACCME, in the April 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

In the Perspective, Dr. McMahon calls upon clinicians, educators, healthcare institutions, and regulators to contribute to the transformation of continuing medical education (CME). This transformation will serve to “expand the opportunities for educational innovation that improves physician practice and ultimately benefits patient care and the health of our country,” Dr. McMahon states.

He recommends that clinicians become more aware of their own strengths and weaknesses and choose CME activities that help them grow. “The point at which a clinician takes ownership of his or her own learning agenda is a pivotal moment in professional growth,” Dr. McMahon writes.

To meet the learning needs of clinicians in today’s healthcare environment, educators need to design activities that are learner-centric, rather than teacher-centric, and incorporate opportunities for interaction and reflection. Interprofessional continuing education (IPCE) gives physicians the opportunity to build the competencies for team-based practice. Patients are part of the healthcare team, and including patients as CME speakers can engage physicians’ hearts as well as their minds, Dr. McMahon says.

Underscoring the strategic value of CME in driving change, Dr. McMahon explains that leaders at healthcare institutions report that CME has helped them improve physician performance, patient outcomes, and teamwork. Of the approximately 2,000 accredited CME programs, about two thirds participate in quality improvement initiatives within their health systems and institutions.

Regulators need to focus on educational outcomes, rather than process, and create the right conditions for maximizing flexibility and innovation in CME, Dr. McMahon writes. The ACCME’s collaboration with the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) to simplify the integration of MOC and CME, is one example of how regulatory authorities can work together to reduce the burden on physicians and promote lifelong learning.

The accredited CME community delivers nearly 150,000 activities each year, which are required to be evidence-based and free of commercial bias and influence. With the engagement of healthcare leaders, educators, and learners, Dr. McMahon states, CME can do even “more to promote performance and quality improvement, collegiality, and public health.”

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The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®) is a nonprofit organization based in Chicago that is responsible for accrediting institutions that offer continuing medical education (CME) through a voluntary, self-regulatory system. The ACCME also has a system for recognizing state medical societies as accreditors for local organizations offering CME.

The ACCME's mission is to identify, develop, and promote standards for quality CME that improves healthcare for patients and their communities. There are approximately 1,900 accredited CME providers within the ACCME System that offer more than 147,000 activities each year, comprising more than one million hours of instruction and including more than 25 million interactions with physicians and other healthcare professionals.

The ACCME's member organizations—which represent the profession of medicine and include physician licensing and credentialing bodies—are the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Association for Hospital Medical Education, the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, and the Federation of State Medical Boards of the US, Inc. For more information, visit