I have a novel idea that I absolutely guarantee won't fly, at least, not in my lifetime: The Accreditation Council for CME could start up a blog. Just imagine a world in which you could go online and learn the thinking behind each step the ACCME takes, and the background behind the decisions it makes. Instead of listening intently to the grapevine for any snippets of news, or how to interpret various rules, you could have a place where you could publicly ask questions — and read what others are saying — as your accrediting body goes through the process of redefining the Standards for Commercial Support, say, or the new criteria for the Essential Areas and their Elements.

Or, here's an even more out-there suggestion: ACCME could start a wiki, which is a Web page that can be edited by just about anyone. ACCME could post a draft of whatever they're proposing, and sit back and see what others in the CME enterprise do with it. Instead of leaving the process to task forces and committees and focus groups, the ACCME could open it up so everyone could have a say in what would really move the industry forward.

Nah, that's just crazy. Or is it? After all, many organizations are throwing open the doors to the inner sanctum to the ravening hordes. Look at General Motors, whose vice chairman has been taking on all comers on his blog for over a year now. Or Boeing Commercial Airplanes, which last year saw its vice president of marketing get on the blog wagon. Healthcare associations are blogging, physicians are blogging, heck, even I'm blogging. We're starting to live in a Web 2.0 world, which actually is a lot like where the ACCME is heading with its new criteria for accreditation: A world where interconnections thrive, where ideas from one sector intersect with another, making both stronger and more effective; and where the collective wisdom of those who are passionate about something build on each other's strengths and fill the gaps between what is and what should be.

But, much as we'd all like to be able to peek behind the curtain at ACCME, I doubt the inmates will be running the asylum anytime soon. And I understand why that would be. Given the gravity of what they're trying to accomplish, it would be too risky to open up the process to just anyone.

Or would it?
Sue Pelletier, (978) 448-0377, spelletier@meetingsnet.com

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