Undergoing a survey for Accreditation Council for CME accreditation can be a daunting task. Just ask Wanda Johnson, CMP, senior director, meetings and education with The Endocrine Society. A 14-year CME veteran, Johnson is working on her third re-accreditation survey, has served as ACCME Workshop faculty, and was recently approved to become an ACCME surveyor. At the CME hot topics session she led at PCMA’s Annual Meeting in January, one of the participants asked for some pointers on how to get through the process relatively unscathed.

  • Provide a comfortable environment for the on-site survey, such as a conference room. And be sure to bring lunch—the surveyor is there to work and won’t be amenable to taking a lunch break.

  • Make sure you have all the files they requested available. If one of the requested files doesn’t show your activity in the best light, bring one or two others they didn’t ask for but that show you have done that particular aspect well in other activities.

  • Don’t worry that you’ll go through an inquisition. "It’s much more of a dialog than it used to be," says Johnson. "My last surveyor told me, ‘I’m here to be your advocate.’ We talked about our strengths and challenges and new solutions we’ve come up with. Don’t approach it as if it were an adversarial situation."

  • Open the meeting with a brief overview of your complete program.

  • Ask your surveyor if it would be OK to include other staff members as observers. "I used our survey as staff training," said Johnson. "It’s a good way to show them the process, and the surveyor may not mind as long as they don’t participate."

For more on surviving the survey, click here for Johnson’s first-person account of her last survey experience.