What is in this article?:
The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education’s 2012 Annual Report provides a detailed look at the current state of accredited CME in the United States, from income and expenses to number of physician and non-physician participants, to the formats used to facilitate the education.
At 69,140, courses were the most-offered format for the enterprise as a whole, including directly and jointly sponsored.-accredited providers produced the majority of the total courses reported, almost 64 percent. Internet enduring materials were next, at 26,711 (almost 93 percent of these were offered by ACCME-accredited providers). Regularly scheduled series such as grand rounds were third with 22,460 in the combined data, though these were second with state-accredited providers, who were responsible for almost 54 percent of the total RSS activities in 2012. Combined, the top three formats comprised 88 percent of the CME offered in 2012. Filling in that last 12 percent were live Internet activities, test-item writing, committee learning, performance-improvement CME, Internet searching and learning, non-Internet-based enduring materials, learning from teaching, journal CME, and manuscript review.
However, enduring Internet materials takes over the top spot when it comes to numbers of participants for the combined providers: This was the most highly consumed format by both docs (almost 5 million) and other HCPs (more than 5 million). The next most-attended format was RSS, which drew more than 4 million docs and more than 2 million other HCPs. Courses rounded out the top three, attendance-wise, with more than 2 million physician and 1.5 million non-physician HCPs.
While small in numbers, performance improvement activities were up to 631 activities in 2012 (jointly and directly sponsored) from the 2011 total of 502 PI CME activities, with about 54 percent being conducted by state-accredited providers. But the real story is in the number of attendees: In 2012, PI CME drew 141,860 physicians and 9,124 non-docs (150,984 in total). In 2011 there were 44,275 docs and 7,492 nondocs (51,767 total) participating in PI CME, so a 25 percent increase in the number of activities drew a more-than 190 percent increase in participants.
The Internet searching and learning format also poses some interesting numbers when looking at the combined data. In 2012 there were just 90 total activities reported using this format, 84 percent fewer than the 587 Internet search and learning activities reported in 2011. And yet there was a 21 percent growth in participants—18 percent more docs, and 78 percent more non-physician HCPs—over 2011.
ACCME also asked its providers to report whether their activities were designed to change competence, performance, or patient outcomes, and if they analyzed the results for change in competence, performance, or patient outcomes. While almost all reported their activities were designed to change competence, just slightly more than half of their activities were designed to change performance, and only about a fifth were designed to change patient outcomes. When it came to analyzing the results of their outcomes studies, just over 90 percent of activities were analyzed for changes in competence, about a third were studied for changes in performance, and less than 10 percent were evaluated for changes in patient outcomes.