“Wow, an ACCME lovefest has broken out,” tweeted @theCMEguy, otherwise known as CME consultant Derek Warnick, during a webinar put on by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education last week. The webinar addressed changes the ACCME recently proposed that are designed to streamline its accreditation process. The proposals came about as ACCME is implementing the strategic imperatives identified by its board in 2011, one of which is finding ways to simplify and evolve its standards, process, and system.

From the responses to callers on the webinar, Twitter chatter, and the CME LinkedIn group, it appears that the ACCME has in fact hit a sweet spot with its proposals, which cover general accreditation, accreditation with commendation, Standards for Commercial Support, and other policies. (Here’s a link to the full proposal and related ACCME documents, and here’s a link to a discussion of the proposed changes by Medical Meetings columnist Steve Passin, of Passin and Associates.)

Among the responses that prompted Warnick to declare said lovefest? “I’ve been in the CME community for about 12 years and I want to commend whoever thought of this because it’s great…I want to commend you for trying to hear us and trying to simplify this,” said one caller.

“This is one of the most exciting things I’ve seen from ACCME in a long time, so thank you, Dr. Kopelow and the board for this kind of leadership and imagination and creativity to our field,” said another. Another said simply, “You’ve restored my faith that things can be changed in large organizations across the nation and I greatly appreciate it and look forward to seeing all the changes that are upcoming.”

While the majority were supportive of the proposed changes, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns. As one person noted during the Twitter chat, “These changes may be simplified but they are not simple.” Another said, “Have to ask: What is changed in the past year to lead to these [proposed] changes? Community wanted this 5+ years ago.”

Even though the proposals are now public, those who have been waiting will have to wait a bit longer before the changes go into effect. During the webinar, ACCME’s president and chief executive, Murray Kopelow, MD, pointed out that the proposed changes need to go through an informal call for comments and further discussion before the board of directors makes its decision. As Kopelow said, “Nothing is changing today about our expectations of you.”