CME activities that have relevance to family medicine by helping family physicians improve patient care, improving the family physician's professional ability, and demonstrating high educational, ethical and medical standards may apply for AAFP credit.
Activities may include:
Activities that involve two or more physicians in “real time” and allow for interaction among participating physicians. These activities also include regularly scheduled series and training programs.
An activity based on independent learning materials designed primarily as a self-study activity.
An activity 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 a physician or group of physicians can learn about specific performance measures1, retrospectively assess their practice, apply performance measures prospectively over a useful interval, and reevaluate their performance. To award AAFP Prescribed credit for PI activities, providers must:
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To develop a complete, structured performance improvement activity, providers must ensure that participating physicians integrate all three stages described below.
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.
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 then 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 continuing medical education 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 Prescribed credits for the completion of each 3-step process. There must be a mechanism either by the sources 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. The 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 CME credit. The CME provider will need to submit an online application.
It is the responsibility of the CME provider to:
The Commission on Continuing Professional Development (COCPD) has awarded Prescribed credits for the activities listed below.
All ALSO CME providers are required to submit a CME activity application. Once the official credit approval is sent, the AAFP CME certification statement may be used on promotional materials.
AAFP members may self-report Prescribed credit for completing the following life support activities without documentation.
CME providers have two options:
1. Do not apply for AAFP CME credit. However, no reference to AAFP certification can be made on promotional materials.
2. Submit a CME activity application. Once the CME provider receives the official credit approval, the AAFP CME certification statement may be used on promotional materials.
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 in the course of a live CME activity.
To be eligible for CME credit the following information is required to be included when completing the AAFP application:
This type of activity is eligible for up to two (2) credits per day of a live CME activity.
The Commission on Continuing Professional Development (COCPD) established the following criteria to be used for activities which teach procedural skills. In the opinion of the AAFP, the criteria must included in any activity intended to lead to the ability to independently perform a procedure or to lead to readiness for preceptoring/proctoring.
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 instructor(s) in the activity should have significant personal experience in performing the procedure(s) that is being taught and should be capable of teaching the procedure.
If the objective of a procedural skills activity is to inform and educate, but not 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 in 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 fifteen-minute break.
CME providers may submit an online CME application or complete the Application for Approval of Live Activities in Word. Only one application is required per year for each type of series activity a CME provider produces. The application should include the following information:
To receive AAFP CME credit, the first date, topic and speaker (or speaker source) must be submitted with the original application to AAFP for CME approval. CME providers must submit their additional dates (sessions), topics, speakers, and learning objectives on a monthly/quarterly basis throughout the year. They may add this information as additional sessions by logging in online. Providers should include a copy of the official CME credit approval form or application number with this additional information. A new credit approval form will be sent by e-mail showing the additional credits approved.
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