Professional Development

29 - ACCME essentials and standards
The first of these rules are the ACCME Essential Areas and Policies with which all ACCME-accredited providers must meet and comply. There are three basic Essential Areas: The first is purpose and mission requiring that the organization have a clear, defined and supported mission to guide it. The second is educational planning and evaluation that stipulates that providers must use the planning process described earlier and evaluate not only its activities, but its overall program and use this information to make improvements. Finally, the last essential is on administration to ensure the organization is run using proper business and management practices and policies. Also among the ACCME policies are their "Standards for Commercial Support" (SCS) which have been recently thoroughly revised. The SCS are in place to ensure that activities are free from commercial bias, and to assure the freedom and independence of the CME provider in developing and controlling the content of the CME activity. The Updated SCS is broken down into six standards:• Independence (CME providers must make decisions free from control of commercial interest)• Resolution of Personal Conflicts of Interest (CME provider must identify and resolve conflicts of interest from all those in a position to control content of a CME activity)• Appropriate Use of Commercial Support • Appropriate Management of Associated Commercial Promotion• Content and Format without Commercial Bias• Disclosures Relevant to Potential Commercial BiasThe second and last standards related to disclosure are very important. Faculty members, and anyone else in a position to control content, must disclose any significant financial relationship with a commercial interest (any proprietary entity producing healthcare goods and services) during the past 12 months. This information, including the name of the commercial interests and nature of the relationship, must be given to participants before the beginning of the activity. One difference from the previous SCS is that if a CME provider feels that the relationship may affect the content of the activity, the individual may have to alter that relationship or have their role changed to one in which they cannot affect content related to products and services of a commercial interest. Anyone who refuses to disclose their financial relationships are to be disqualified from participating in the activity.