AMA PRA Credit System

5 ways to meet your CME requirements

Sara Berg, MS , News Editor

With your busy schedule, CME might take a backburner until you’re nearing the end of the year. The availability of online options makes it more convenient to meet your CME requirements. And while it is still worth the time and effort to attend a medical conference relevant to your practice and specialty, you still have several other interesting options to complete your CME requirements. 

Find a cornucopia of CME options at the AMA Education Center, where you can search by topic, source, credit amount and format. Read on to better understand the options available.

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Enduring materials. This type of CME is any activity that endures over a period of time. It can be a printed, recorded or computer-present activity that may be completed over time at a time that is convenient for you.

This type of CME activity often includes online materials such as archived webinars, podcasts and other web-based options. One enduring material CME option for physicians is the AMA’s “Share, Listen, Speak, Learn” webinar series.

Another is series of modules that explore medical ethics issues such as informed consent, organ donation, patient confidentiality and physician well-being.

Journal-based CME. A journal-based activity often includes the reading of an article. There is also a provider-stipulated or learner-directed phase such as reflection, discussion or debate about the material that is contained in the article. 

To claim credit, the learner is required to complete a predetermined set of questions or tasks as it relates to the content included in the journal article. Visit the AMA Education Center to find journal-based CME options.

Manuscript review for journals. When physicians learn through the critical review of assigned journal manuscripts, they can receive CME credit. The review must be of an original contribution for publication in a medical journal indexed by Medline which requires multiple reviewers. It also must be deemed acceptable by the editor.

The scoring of a review will be determined by the academic editor for the journal. And since journals vary in their scope and editors have individual expectations, one set of criteria cannot be formulated for all journals. The editor will decide if a specific review is worthy of awarding CME credit.

Performance improvement CME. Another option is performance improvement (PI) CME, which is when an accredited CME provider structures a three-term, three-stage process to help a physician or group of physicians:

  • Learn about specific performance measures.
  • Assess their practice using selected performance measures.
  • Implement interventions to improve performance related to these measures over a period of time.
  • Reassesses their practice using the same performance measures.

A PI CME activity may address any structure, process or outcome of a physician’s practice with direct implications for patient care.

Live activities. Participation in a live activity requires attendance at an event held at a specific time as scheduled by the accredited CME provider. This can either be in person or remotely, and often include national, regional or local conferences, workshops, seminars, journal clubs, structured learning activities presented during a committee meeting and webinars.

A live activity can also include faculty credit, which is when a physician participates in an original presentation, and when teaching residents or medical students.