CME providers may apply for AAFP credit for activities that are relevant to family medicine because they help family physicians improve patient care; improve the family physician's professional ability; and demonstrate high educational, ethical, and medical standards. Such activities may include:
Live activities involve two or more physicians in “real time” and allow for interaction among participating physicians. These also include regularly scheduled series and training programs.
Scientific exhibits and scientific poster sessions are eligible for CME credit when authors are available for interaction with learners during one or more designated times during the course of a live CME activity.
To be eligible for CME credit, you must include the following information when completing the AAFP application:
This type of activity is eligible for up to two credits per day of a live CME activity.
The Commission on Continuing Professional Development (COCPD) established the following criteria for CME activities that teach procedural skills. In the AAFP’s opinion, the criteria must be met by any activity intended to give learners the ability to independently perform a procedure or to prepare learners for preceptoring/proctoring.
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In addition to the above, the trainee should be evaluated on: 1) cognitive knowledge, 2) psychomotor skills/technique, and 3) visual recognition of pathology, if appropriate.
The activity instructor(s) should have significant personal experience in performing the procedure(s) being taught and should be capable of teaching the procedure(s).
If the objective of a procedural skills CME activity is to inform and educate, but not to provide an in-depth level of skill, these criteria are not an essential part of the activity.
Series activities are a preplanned set of regularly scheduled (e.g., weekly, monthly, quarterly) conferences that occur at one location/institution during a one-year period. The conferences offer different topics related to a unifying theme under an umbrella title (e.g., Family Medicine Grand Rounds, Tumor Boards, Issues in Primary Care). The conferences must be uniform in length and may not exceed four hours or 3.75 credits each. The AAFP requires that CME activities of four hours or more in length include a 15-minute break.
CME providers may submit an online CME application. Only one series application is required per year. The application should include the following information:
To receive AAFP credit, submit the date, topic, learning objectives, and faculty of the first session with the original application. CME providers must submit information about additional sessions (dates, topics, learning objectives, and faculty) on a monthly/quarterly basis throughout the year. CME providers may add this information by logging into the CME Provider Dashboard online.
Enduring materials are activities based on independent learning materials designed primarily as self-study activities.
Medical journals are activities based on regularly published collections of articles intended for medical professionals. The participant reads an article; engages in a self-directed phase stipulated by the CME provider that may include reflection, discussion, or debate about the article; and completes a pre-determined set of questions or tasks related to the article content.
Performance improvement (PI) activities describe structured, long-term processes by which physicians learn about specific performance measures, retrospectively assess their practice, apply performance measures prospectively over a useful interval, and reevaluate their performance. To award AAFP Prescribed credit for PI activities, CME providers must:
To develop a complete, structured PI activity, CME providers must ensure that participating physicians integrate all of the following three stages:
Stage A: Learning from current practice performance assessment
Assess current practice using identified performance measures, either through chart reviews or some other appropriate mechanism. Participating physicians should be actively involved in data collection and analysis.
Stage B: Learning from the application of performance improvement to patient care
Implement an intervention based on the performance measures selected in Stage A using suitable tracking tools (e.g., flow sheets). Participating physicians should receive guidance on appropriate parameters for applying an intervention and assessing performance change, specific to the performance measure and the physician’s patient base (e.g., How many patients with a given condition, seen for how long, will produce a valid assessment?).
Stage C: Learning from evaluation of the performance improvement effort
Reevaluate and reflect on performance in practice (Stage B) by comparing to the assessment done in Stage A. Summarize any practice, process, and/or outcome changes that resulted from conducting the PI activity.
The AAFP recognizes point-of-care CME as practice-based learning that takes place in support of specific patient care. The physician uses a computer-based clinical decision-making support tool at the point of care to ask a clinical question, search evidence-based sources for practice recommendations, and apply a recommendation appropriately to the patient. Even in cases when the evidence-based recommendation is not appropriate for the patient, the physician still learns something in the process.
Because this is relevant, evidence-based CME that meets a physician’s specific learning needs, it is appropriate to award AAFP Prescribed credit for documented point-of-care learning activities.
AAFP-approved point-of-care CME activities allow learners to claim 0.5 AAFP Prescribed credits for the completion of each three-step process. There must be a mechanism—either from the source or from the CME provider—to document the following elements:
It is not necessary for all three of these elements to be documented at the point of care. For example, if the point-of-care source captures the clinical question and the search, the physician may document implementation at a different time (e.g., at the end of the clinic day), or the point-of-care CME provider may capture implementation data from the physician as a part of documentation of earned credit.
It is the CME provider's responsibility to ensure that the three parts of the point-of-care learning experience are properly documented. AAFP members can claim up to 20 credits per year toward membership re-election.
Any CME provider is eligible to use a point-of-care source to provide point-of-care CME activities and apply to the AAFP for credit. The CME provider must submit an online application.
The CME provider must do the following:
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