The Conjoint Committee on CME met in Chicago in August to address recommendation 5.3 from the Institute of Medicine’s April 2009 report, “Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice.” Recommendation 5.3 states: “A new system of funding accredited continuing medical education should be developed that is free of industry influence, enhances public trust in the integrity of the system, and provides high-quality education.”

The Conjoint Committee’s meeting was the first of many that are planned. They will continue to meet both in person and remotely over the next few months with the goal of announcing a recommendation on March 17, 2011, at a CME summit, says Norman Kahn, executive vice president and chief executive officer, Council of Medical Specialty Societies, Chicago, and the convener of the Conjoint Committee.

At the first meeting, three topics were broadly discussed by the committee: disclosure to learners, independence and control of content, and the value of CME in the lifelong learning of CME professionals. “There were lots of brainstorming ideas, but there was nothing that was finally decided because we consider this to be a process which will continue and culminate next March,” says Kahn. A second meeting has not yet been scheduled, but the group will continue to convene either in person, through teleconferences, or electronically.

While Kahn doesn’t know at this point what will come out of the meetings, he does expect that there will be recommendations for ways to improve the CME funding process.

The Conjoint Committee, established in 2000 to address big-picture issues in CME, is a collaborative group of national organizations: the Alliance for CME, Accreditation Council for CME, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Board of Medical Specialties, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, American Osteopathic Association, Association for Hospital Medical Education, Association of American Medical Colleges, CMSS, Federation of State Medical Boards, The Joint Commission, National Board of Medical Examiners, Society of Academic CME, and Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions.

In addition, several others stakeholders were invited to participate in the process, says Kahn. Organizations with a seat at the table include Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America; AdvaMed (Advanced Medical Technology Association); North American Association of Medical Education and Communications Companies; Coalition for Healthcare Communication; AMA Council of Ethical and Judicial Affairs; AMA Council on Medical Education; American Nurses Credentialing Center; Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education; and a member of, but not representing, the IOM Committee on Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice.

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