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Continuing Medical Education Program How to Apply

Instructions for Completing the CME Application

Important Notes

The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) has a rigorous policy for accrediting CME activities. As an approved provider, DUCOM is required to maintain strict compliance with the ACCME standards and guidelines. Requirements are outlined in the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support.

It is the responsibility of the Office of Continuing Medical Education (OCME) to ensure that all of DUCOM's CME activities are in compliance. Failure to comply with the standards not only jeopardizes continued accreditation for individual programs, but also puts the University in jeopardy of losing its accreditation status as a CME provider.  Due to the severity of the sanctions, the OCME is committed to ensuring that CME activities meet ACCME standards and compliance requirements.

Planning Process

The planning process of the activity is an important factor.

Content should be appropriate to the OCME Mission Statement and address improved physician performance and patient outcomes. The planning documentation should also explain how content/topics were selected as well as criteria used in the selection of speakers. As a reminder, employees of a pharmaceutical company and/or medical device manufacturer CANNOT be involved with the identification of speakers and/or topics.

Needs Assessment

Needs assessment is the systemic process of gathering information and using it to determine instructional solutions to close the learning and/or performance gap. This is best understood as:

What learners currently know and how they practice versus what learners should know and how they should practice.

The difference between these two is the performance gap.

Needs Assessment Guidelines [PDF]

Use the Performance Gap and Needs Assessment Worksheet to work through the needs development process. Submit the worksheet as part of the needs assessment documentation.

Steps to consider:

  1. What is the current performance/practice demonstrated by the target group?
  2. What is the performance/practice desired from the target group?
  3. Does the difference between the current practice and the desired practice represent a deficit (gap) in knowledge, competence, and/or performance?
  4. What methods and resources did you use to identify the performance/practice gaps (i.e., clinical guidelines, chart audits, quality improvement/risk management data, etc.)?
  5. Review and analyze your findings in terms of how this information will be used to help identify the specific steps needed to address/resolve the gaps identified for your target audience.
  6. Identify the desired outcomes and the level at which you want the audience to perform after the activity.
  7. Define the outcomes in terms of educational objectives you wish to achieve: "After completing this CME activity, the physician will be able to ..." Refer to application guidelines for help developing objectives.

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All CME activities must be evaluated. Evaluations provide critical feedback for improving the quality of CME activities, planning future activities, assessing the educational impact and measuring changes in practice habits and attitudes. See the evaluation form below.

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Application Deadlines

Submit complete applications with all attachments. Incomplete applications will be returned.

Applications for regularly scheduled series (RSSs) are due June 16 for the upcoming fiscal year. Applications for all other activities should be submitted six to nine months before the activity.  Marketing materials CANNOT be printed before OCME has reviewed and approved both the CME application and all marketing materials. Once the application has been approved, the activity director will be notified.

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The Disclosure of Relationships and Declaration Form must be completed and submitted with the CME application for each of the planning committee members, activity director, moderator and speakers. You can download the Disclosure of Relationships and Declaration Form [PDF] and fill it out, or make the necessary disclosures online.

The form must be updated annually or more often if relationships change. Disclosure of Relationships and Declaration Forms for all faculty must be submitted no later than eight weeks prior to the start date of the activity.  All conflicts of interest must be identified and resolved prior to the presentation. If  a speaker refuses or fails to submit the Disclosure Form, the individual may not participate in the CME activity.

Speakers – Provide speaker with speaker guidelines. S/he must be independent of and not employed by a commercial entity, disclose commercial relationships prior to the presentation, assist in the resolution of conflicts of interest, use generic names, deliver an evidence-based, scientifically valid presentation, and clearly identify unlabeled and investigational application of treatments.

Activity Directors are responsible for ensuring that speakers submit the Disclosure of Relationships and Declaration Form well in advance of the activity; confirm there is no conflict of interest or that potential conflicts have been resolved; acknowledge commercial relationships and methods used to resolve conflicts of interest to the audience; and ensure that programs are independent and free from commercial bias.

Commercial Support must be in the form of an educational grant, made payable to the provider (DUCOM) or approved designee.  The grant must be preceded by the Letter of Agreement, which has been signed by the commercial supporter and the assistant dean of CME. If the commercial supporter intends to cover the cost of refreshments for a grand rounds event, the department makes all arrangements then reimburses the departmental account when grant funds are received. A representative of the commercial supporter (i.e., marketing representative) cannot make independent arrangements to supply refreshments for a CME accredited event or "drop by" with food/beverage.

ACCME prohibits the use of Commercial Interest Logos in educational materials, marketing and in the disclosure of commercial support. The ACCME defines a commercial interest as "any entity producing, marketing, reselling, or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients." The ACCME does not consider providers of clinical service directly to patients to be commercial interests.

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How do I manage interactions with Commercial Supporters and Marketing Representatives?

How do I design my marketing materials?

Marketing materials must be pre-approved by the OCME prior to distribution. Allow one week for review of flyers, four weeks for brochure.The AMA Designation Statement, the Accreditation Statement and the Disclosure Statement must appear on marketing materials. See samples provided for additional details.

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Definition of Terms


Continuing Medical Education (CME)
"Continuing medical education consists of educational activities that serve to maintain, develop or increase the knowledge, skills, professional performance and relationships a physician uses to provide services for patients, the public or the profession. The content of CME is that body of knowledge and skills generally recognized and accepted by the profession as within the basic medical sciences, the discipline of clinical medicine and the provision of health care to the public."

Core Competencies

Patient Care or Patient-Centered Care: Compassionate, appropriate, and effective in the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health.

Medical Knowledge: Established and evolving biomedical, clinical, and cognate sciences and the application of this knowledge to patient care.

Practice-Based Learning and Improvement: Investigation and evaluation of patient care, appraisal and assimilation of scientific evidence, and improvements in patient care.

Interpersonal and Communication Skills: Effective information exchange and teaming with patients, their families and other health professionals.

Professionalism: A commitment to professional responsibilities, adherence to ethical principles and sensitivity to a diverse patient population.

Systems-Based Practice: Demonstrates an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger system of health care and the ability to utilize system resources to provide optimal care.

Professional Practice Gap
The difference between health care processes or outcomes observed in practice and those potentially achievable on the basis of current professional knowledge. When there is a gap between what the professional is doing or accomplishing compared to what is "achievable on the basis of current professional knowledge," there is a professional practice gap.

Acquaintance with facts, truths, and principles of medicine. Demonstrates knowledge about established and evolving biomedical, clinical and cognate sciences and their application in patient care.

Knowing how to do something. Knowledge, in the presence of experience and judgment, is translated into ability (competence), which is not yet put into practice. It is what a professional would do in practice, if given the opportunity.

The appropriate application of skills and techniques. Demonstrates the best evidence and practices compared to peers and national benchmarks.

Patient Outcomes
Promote outcomes that are compassionate, appropriate, and effective in the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health.


  • OCME: Office of Continuing Medical Education
  • NCQA: National Committee for Quality Assurance
  • JCAHO: Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health care
  • HEDIS: Health Plan Employer Data and Information Set

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Data Submission Form [PDF] – check off sheet to be used when forwarding materials to OCME.

Audience Disclosure Announcements [PDF] – announcements which must be made to the audience.

Verification and Resolution Form [DOC] – form completed by the activity director and used to document and report the review of relationships and resolution of conflicts of interest. Form is forwarded to OCME with the Disclosure of Relationships and Declaration Form.

Disclosure of Relationships and Declaration Form [PDF] – All individuals who have an opportunity to influence content of the CME activity (planning committee members, activity director, moderators, speakers, etc.) are required to disclose his/her commercial relationships and methods used to resolve potential conflicts of interest to the audience prior to the start of the activity.

Evaluation Form [DOC] – form used to collect feedback on CME activity. Data must be summarized and forwarded to OCME.

Honoraria Policy: – each provider is required to have and adhere to an established policy for the payment of honoraria.

Guidelines for Individuals Planning and/or Presenting at CME Activities [DOC] – outlines expectations and requirements. Include these guidelines with the letter to the speaker (see below).

Letter of Agreement or LOA [DOC] - contract between CME provider and commercial supporter of CME activity. Must be signed by the commercial supporter and assistant dean of CME.

Exhibitor Contract [DOC] – contract between CME provider and commercial supporters who wish to exhibit at activity. Must be signed by the commercial supporter and assistant dean of CME.

Regularly Scheduled Series (RSSs) – grand round/M&M/case conference/tumor board/journal club.

Policy and Procedures on Disclosure, Resolution of Conflicts of Interest and Content Validation [PDF] – conflicts of interest must be resolved prior to the CME activity. The individual's commercial relationship(s) and method used to resolve the conflict must be announced to the audience prior to presentation.

Speaker Letter [DOC] – letter to speaker, which outlines obligations and expectations.

Performance Gap and Needs Assessment Worksheet [DOC] – planning committee uses worksheet to develop the needs assessment.

Learning Objectives [PDF] - objectives must be measurable.

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Participants at a Drexel University College of Medicine continuing medical education program.