The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) announced on August 12, 2015, that they will collaborate to simplify and integrate Maintenance of Certification (MOC) and accredited CME.

As a result of this collaboration, physicians will be able to earn both CME and MOC points for certain educational activities — and will also be able to use a single system to submit both their CME points to the ACCME and their MOC points to the ABIM.

The ABIM and the ACCME will work out the exact details over the next few months, but their goal is to roll out the new MOC/CME options to physicians by September 21, 2015, and to have the new streamlined submission system in place by the end of the year.

Reducing Redundancy for Physicians

ABIM diplomates already participate in CME activities to meet licensure requirements. Many physicians have called for an end to the ABIM’s MOC program, saying that it is a burden on their time and resources, and that it is redundant with CME requirements.The ABIM’s decision to allow physicians to earn MOC points for certain CME activities (what they’re calling “high-quality CME”) is likely to reduce some of that redundancy.

Starting this fall, physicians participating in CME will be able to submit CME activities to the ACCME as usual and submit any of these CME activities that meet ABIM requirements to the ABIM for MOC — using the same system.

What Kinds of CME Qualify for MOC?

Over the next few months, the ABIM will be determining exactly which CME activities qualify for MOC points. Their criteria are as follows:

  • The CME activity must be certified by the ACCME as one of the following:
    • peer-reviewed enduring materials (print or digital)
    • peer-reviewed journal-based CME
    • point-of-care learning (i.e., internet searching and learning)
    • test-item writing in a committee of at least three members
    • live courses (and recordings of live courses) that include an evaluation measuring what you have learned
  • Evaluations methods must:
    • include multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, or longer-form tests; written or shared responses; or other content-relevant exercises
    • identify a passing standard
    • provide feedback to the learner that includes the rationale for correct answers
    • include relevant citations
  • Patient safety CME activities must address at least one of the following topics:
    • epidemiology of error
    • fundamentals of patient safety improvement
    • culture of safety
    • prevention of adverse events (for example, medication safety, prevention of healthcare-acquired infections, falls prevention, and teamwork and care coordination)

The CME activity must already be in good standing with the ACCME and use ACCME’s Provider and Activity Reporting System, and the activity or materials must be relevant to physicians certified by the ABIM.

Rolling Out the New System

The ACCME will maintain a list of CME activities that have met ABIM requirements and are registered for MOC credit. Physicians will have access to this list on the ACCME website, which will become a one-stop resource for ABIM diplomates.

Integrating ACCME’s submission system with ABIM MOC will take a few months; the ABIM and ACCME expect the new system to go live by the end of 2015.

Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, President and CEO of the ACCME and former Editor of NEJM Knowledge+, says, “This collaboration will generate many more opportunities for accredited CME providers to serve as a strategic resource by delivering relevant, effective, independent, practice-based education that counts for MOC. I look forward to working together with ABIM, our community of accredited CME providers, and our community of diplomates to leverage the power of education to drive quality in our medical profession and improve care for the patients we serve.”

How do you feel about this collaboration between the ABIM and the ACCME? What are your thoughts about these changes to the CME/MOC program?

More from the Learning+ Blog on the ABIM’s changes to MOC:

ABIM Practice Improvement Modules — What Next?
ABIM Announces New Blueprint and Score Report for Recertification Exam
ABIM Changes MOC Requirements