Your Definitive Guide to Continuing Medical Education (CME) Management

Your Definitive Guide to Continuing Medical Education (CME) Management

Obtaining a medical license, and ultimately treating patients, requires extensive education and training. But learning doesn’t stop once healthcare providers are licensed. The healthcare industry continually evolves as new medical research, practices, and technologies emerge, and providers need to stay current with these advancements to provide the best care possible.

Most providers are required to complete ongoing medical education throughout their career. While obtaining education credits is critical for ensuring the delivery of high-quality and safe patient care, this generates more data to collect, manage, and maintain in provider directories. By digitizing and automating continuing medical education management, the subsequent provider data management processes—including provider credentialing and payer enrollment—can get done faster, enabling providers to see patients sooner.

The Continuing Medical Education Landscape

What is Continuing Medical Education?

Continuing medical education (CME) refers to the ongoing education and training of healthcare providers. The goal of CME is to help providers improve their performance and consistently provide high quality care. The American Medical Association (AMA) states that CME credits demonstrate providers have participated in educational activities and obtained CME credit to meet the requirements of state medical boards, medical specialty societies, specialty boards, hospital medical staffs, The Joint Commission, insurance groups, and others.

According to the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), “CME consists of educational activities which serve to maintain, develop, or increase the knowledge, skills, and professional performance and relationships that a physician uses to provide services for patients, the public, or the profession. The content of CME is generally recognized and accepted by the profession as within the basic medical sciences, the discipline of clinical medicine, and the provision of healthcare to the public.”

The Importance of Continuing Medical Education
  1. Regulatory Compliance: Most states require healthcare providers to complete a certain number of CME credits every one to four years to maintain their professional licenses or certifications. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in disciplinary action, fines, or even loss of license.
  2. Professional Development: CME helps healthcare professionals maintain and improve their knowledge and skills.
  3. Accreditation and Certification: Many professional organizations and accrediting bodies, such as AACME, require healthcare providers to provide proof of completion of CME credits to maintain their accreditation or certification.
  4. Quality Improvement: By staying up to date with the latest medical practices, research, and technologies, CME helps providers improve the quality of care they provide to their patients.
  5. Liability Protection: CME keeps providers informed of changes to laws, regulations, and best practices, which can help them avoid legal and ethical issues that could result in liability claims.
CE, CME, or CEU: What’s the Difference?

There’s often confusion about the difference between CE, CME, CEU. Continuing education (CE) applies to all licensed medical professionals, whereas CME applies primarily to physicians. Simply put, all CME is CE, but not all CE is CME. Continuing education units (CEU) is a measure used in continuing education programs to help a provider maintain their license. One CEU is equivalent to ten hours of CE.

How Do Providers Earn CME Credits?

CME is available online and in-person from universities or organizations like the AMA Ed Hub and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For example, providers may attend conferences, workshops, seminars, or courses to obtain CME credits. There are also some unconventional options, such as manuscript review, poster presentations, and self-directed learning modules.

Which Providers Need CME Credits?

CME requirements vary by specialty and location, but most providers are required to earn CME credits for the duration of their medical career. Some examples of providers who need to obtain CME credits include physicians, nurses, pharmacists, surgeons, dentists, and physical therapists.

Common Challenges with CME Management

Documenting & Tracking CME Credits

Maintaining CME compliance helps guarantee a consistent quality of care. It’s important for providers to keep a record of their CME credits, especially when it comes time for credentialing and license renewal. However, documenting and tracking CME credits complicates the already time-consuming provider data management process. There are a few ways providers can track CME credits:

  1. National Accreditation Organizations: Many national organizations, such as the ACCME and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), provide tracking systems for healthcare providers to keep track of their CME credits.
  2. Online Tracking Systems: Some professional organizations and medical societies offer online systems or platforms for tracking CME credits. These systems allow providers to digitally record, store, and access their CME records.
  3. State Licensing Boards: Some state licensing boards offer tracking systems for CME credits. This may streamline the process of submitting CME records during the licensing renewal process.
  4. Paper-Based Systems: Healthcare providers may choose to maintain a paper-based or spreadsheet record of their CME credits. This documentation may include certificates, brochures, and other evidence of participation in CME activities.

Like licensing requirements, CME requirements, such as credit amounts and renewal cycles, differ by state. Each state’s medical board requires a certain number of CME credits and a time period in which the requirements must be fulfilled. In some states, providers need to earn credits every year; and in other states, there’s a total number of credits that providers need to accrue within four years. A few states—Colorado, Montana, and South Dakota—don’t require CME at all, and other states have varying requirements for the numbers of credits, from two to 200.

Simplifying CME Management

In today’s healthcare environment, providers are overwhelmed and stretched thin. On top of working long hours, the system expects providers to be life-long learners. It’s already difficult to find time to complete ongoing medical education, let alone understand state variations and track CME credits in an online provider database.

For healthcare organizations, maintaining current and accurate provider data continues to be a juggling act. Without a standard procedure or single database, monitoring CME credits takes up time and uses a lot of resources in an already inundated healthcare ecosystem. Outsourcing CME management and combining it with other provider data management tasks on one platform, can help streamline a traditionally manual process. A modern CME management platform can track CME credit deadlines and flag specific CME requirements by state, simplifying the process and remove the administrative burden.

Automating CME Management

At Madaket, we’re proud to partner with Mocingbird, a cloud-based CME management platform that empowers providers and healthcare administrators to simplify continuing education and take control of ongoing medical credentialing. We provide a real-time administrative solution built to remove as many of the box-checking tasks in the CME/CEU process as possible, powered by Mocingbird. With the platform, you can expect:

  • Curated requirements and course recommendations for all 50 state licensing boards
  • Comprehensive and intuitive profiles for all of your providers so you can easily manage data, track credits, and organize documentation
  • Engagement with providers on their desktop or mobile device with easily configured notifications
  • Combination of CME/CEU management with payer enrollment to maintain compliance with your existing payer networks, or expand into new ones
Credentialing Graphic

With our joint CME/CEU management solution, you’ll gain a clear understanding of credit due dates, have access to a ‘Learning Center’ to maximize CME/CEU credits, and store and sync your ongoing licensure information and documentation in the cloud, all on one platform.

To start simplifying CME management, learn how we’re making CME management easy with Mocingbird.

Save valuable time by simplifying CME management. Contact us for a complimentary review of your manual medical credentialing tasks.

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