Continuing medical education (CME) is a cornerstone of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and has been a requirement for continuing membership since the founding of the AAFP in 1947. CME for the family physician is emphasized because the responsibility for providing comprehensive and continuing health care to patients carries with it the responsibility to continue learning. The need to keep abreast of the rapid expansion of medical knowledge necessitates CME.
Members may earn CME credit via a wide range of educational opportunities, in both formal and informal categories. Formal CME includes CME activities that have been certified by the AAFP for Prescribed or Elective credit. Informal CME includes self-directed learning activities that are not certified for credit. Options and limitations are summarized in the following table. Additional detail on each of the items follows.
|Activity Type||Credit Designation Possible||Credit Maximum per Re-Election Cycle|
|AAFP Certified CME Activities in the following formats:||Prescribed||Elective|
|Performance Improvement||X||X||20 per activity|
|Point of Care||X||X||0.5 per search or 60 per 3-year cycle|
|American Medical Association PRA Category 1 Credit™||X||Unlimited|
|American Osteopathic Association Certified||X||Unlimited|
|College of Family Physicians of Canada Mainpro Certified Credit||X||Unlimited|
|Department of Healthcare Professions Ministry of Public Health - Qatar||X||Unlimited|
Formal CME Definitions:
Live Activities take place in real time, involving two or more physicians. These activities provide the opportunity for real-time interaction between learners and faculty.
Enduring Material activities are based on independent learning materials designed primarily as self-study activities. These independent learning materials must, in themselves, constitute a planned CME activity.
Medical Journals are a regularly published collection 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) CME activities are 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. Five Prescribed or Elective credits may be awarded for the completion of each of the three stages, and participants must begin with Stage A. Physicians completing, in sequence, all three stages of a structured PI activity may receive an additional five AAFP Prescribed credits, for a maximum of twenty credits.
Point of Care is 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.
AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ -- Educational activities that have been approved as AMA Category 1 Credit™ for the American Medical Association Physician’s Recognition Award and that have not been certified for AAFP Prescribed credit may be self-reported by members as AMA Category 1 Credit™. This counts toward re-election as AAFP Elective credit.
AOA CME -- Educational activities that have been approved for credit by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and that have not been certified for AAFP Prescribed credit may be self-reported by members as AOA credit. This counts toward re-election as AAFP Elective credit.
CFPC Activities -- Activities approved by the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) for Mainpro+ CME credit and that have not been certified for AAFP Prescribed credit may be self-reported by members as AAFP Prescribed credit.
DHP Activities -- Activities approved by the Department of Healthcare Professions (DHP) Ministry of Public Health – Qatar for Category 1 and 3 credit may be self-reported by members as AAFP Elective credit.
|Self-directed Learning Activities||Prescribed||Elective||Credit Maximum Per Re-Election Cycle|
|ABFM or AOA Certification||X||25|
Informal CME Definitions:
ABFM or AOA Certification -- Credit may be claimed for the certification or recertification examination through the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).
Advanced Training -- Credit may be claimed for the completion of a medically-related master’s degree or a fellowship/mini-fellowship program beyond Family Medicine residency training.
Teaching -- Credit may be claimed for instruction of health professions learners in formal individual (e.g., preceptorships) or live educational formats.
Scholarly Activities -- Credit may be claimed for the following types of scholarly activities:
Professional Enrichment -- Credit may be claimed, commensurate with participation, for partaking in other medical educational experiences and activities, such as independent exam preparation and informal self-learning activities. These activities may or may not be documented, and are not certified by the AAFP, AMA, AOA, but are of a nature of professional enrichment to the family physician.
The following learning activities are not eligible for AAFP CME credit:
(April 2020 BOD) (November 2020 BC)