ACCME Responds to the Senate Special Committee on Aging

July 16, 2008 at 12:29 am Leave a comment

The ACCME has released its response to Senate Special Committee on Aging recent request for information about the accreditation process and its efforts to stem the influence of commercial influence in CME activities. This document, especially the last section, warrants a careful reading by every person in the CME enterprise. If you are a person employed in the CME enterprise read this. If you are a member of a Committee responsible for a CME program, read this. If you are a non-accredited organization working on jointly sponsored CME activities, read this. If you are a State Medical Society responsible for accrediting CME providers, read this. We all should read this CAREFULLY.

The last section of this report beginning on page 23 should be read very carefully, especially the last paragraph of the document. ACCME is stating that it believes due consideration be given to the elimination of commercial support for CME. I agree. Is this a signal about what the position of ACCME is going to be? I guess we will have to wait and see. Without data tio support that position I certainly hope not.

Could you blame any commercial interest from withdrawing support for CME? The Senate is investigating ties between commercial interests and CME providers. Major national organizations are calling for the elimination of commercial support for CME. Commercial interests spend increasingly large amounts of money just to administer a unit to support CME that is “firewalled” from the marketing and sales interest of the company. They have a huge expense in operating a compliance effort related to the support they provide to the CME enterprise. Do they think it is worth it? Some are saying NO.

The relationship between the medical profession and the industries that provide the tools of their trade is unique among the professions. There is an interdependency between physicians and the industries that provide them what they need to do their jobs. That relationship needs to be one of concern especially if it leads to poor clinical decisions and bad patient outcomes. But the data don’t support the contention that, in general, commercial influence in CME is a wide spread problem. What all of the organizations expressing opinions that suggest an undo influence of commercial interests in CME are doing is making the exceptions the rule. In quality management that is called tampering. STOP IT. Until there is evidence to suggest that the system is out of control work to reduce the variability in the system. Don’t make the “tampering” mistake. Deal with exceptions. Don’t let the exceptions set the course for all of CME.

One last thing. If you have not responded to the ACCME call for comment distributed recently there are also some very important directions under consideration by the ACCME that could have a significant impact on the field.

Get engaged in this fray. It is critical.


Entry filed under: CME, CME Issues, Continuing Medical Education, Continung Professional Development, Pharma Funding, Physician Continuing Education, Physician Education.

Bias in CME activites? Who is Responsible? CME Leaders! Where are you on the Issue of Commercial Support?

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