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Continuing Medical Education

The medical field changes almost daily because of the constant flow of new information and medical advances. Universities and medical schools continually develop courses that provide crucial information for the public, as well as for medical professionals, about innovative changes. In an effort to keep medical professionals up-to-date with these new changes, Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses are offered to professional healthcare providers.

Institutions that provide Continuing Medical Education (CME) must be accredited through the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). This accreditation organization has strict regulations to protect the public. Universities that offer CME courses are providing learning opportunities for professional health providers that include nurses, medical students, surgeons, health technicians, and general physicians in all areas of medicine.

CME courses are provided to update the medical profession about the changes within particular aspects of healthcare. The courses are sometimes presented in one evening, or a course can be scheduled over several consecutive days. Participants pay a set fee to attend and have an opportunity to gain units of credit. The presenters are members of the healthcare profession who have expertise in the specific topic presented. ACCME regulates the commercial advertising of products during the CME courses. Universities must establish an agreement between the presenters to discourage any conflict of interest presentations. The objectives of the CME courses should be clearly stated so that participants are able to receive relevant educational programs.

The universities that offer Continuing Medical Education courses are governed by ACCME and seek the high rating of being awarded the Accreditation with Commendation ranking. In order to receive this rating a university must exhibit the ACCME's current Essential Areas and Elements and a CME provider must be exemplary in the review and improvement of its CME activities or overall CME program in at least two of the following elements.
Element 2.1 - Planning that links educational needs with a desired result; Element 2.4 - Evaluating the effectiveness of its CME activities; Element 2.5 - Evaluating the effectiveness of its overall CME program; and/or Element 3.1 - Having an organizational framework that provides necessary resources

Professional healthcare providers usually can be assured of relevant and effective methodology because of the active role of the ACCME.

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