ACCMERulesCore CriteriaEducational Needs


Educational Needs

The provider incorporates into CME activities the educational needs (knowledge, competence, or performance) that underlie the professional practice gaps of their own learners.

Table of contents

About the Rule

The accredited provider addresses, through its CME activities, problems in practice and/or patient care. As part of that effort, the provider examines those problems and looks for knowledge, strategy, skill, performance, or system deficits that could be contributing to the problems. By doing so, the provider is able to plan and implement education that will effectively address the problems.

Key Concepts and Definitions

Definition: Professional Practice Gap This is an ACCME adaptation of an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) definition of a gap in the quality of patient care where the gap is “the difference between health care processes or outcomes observed in practice, and those potentially achievable on the basis of current professional knowledge.” The ACCME does not want to limit the scope of CME providers’ or learners’ educational projects. Part or all of some professionals’ practices include important non-clinical, non-patient care elements which are still considered relevant to continuing medical education. When there is a gap between what the professional is doing or accomplishing compared to what is “achievable on the basis of current professional knowledge,” there is a professional practice gap.

See Kaveh G. et al, Technical Review, Number 9 , Closing the Quality Gap: A Critical Analysis of Quality Improvement Strategies Volume 1- Series Overview and Methodology, Publication No. 04-0051-1 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality , U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Contract No. 290-02-0017, August 2004