Internists want to stay up to date on medical knowledge, and they need to meet state licensing requirements — this is where continuing medical education (CME) comes in. But between practice, research, and the many other duties of a practicing physician, where exactly does internal medicine CME fit in? Read on to review the basics of CME and learn about several of the most efficient and thorough CME resources offered in the medical community.

Continuing Medical Education: What You Need to Know

As medical knowledge continually advances, physicians must progress at an equal pace in order to promise patients the highest quality of care and safety possible. Continuing medical education is designed to aid not only a physician’s progress as an individual practitioner, but also as a member of a medical team or as part of a medical, research, or educational institution. CME tools and activities are remarkably varied, covering a comprehensive scope of topics and issues most critical to the medical world today. Aside from content, there is also an impressive range of CME formats, from online tools to CME conferences to CME cruises. With a wide variety of channels and frameworks within which to structure your learning, CME looks different for every physician, but is equally crucial for all.

Countless educational opportunities exist to help internists maintain and improve their knowledge of internal medicine. While many CME sources are excellent, some are lackluster, which tasks physicians with determining which options hold significant value. All reputable CME providers are governed by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), which ensures high standards of accuracy and relevancy. ACCME also recognizes its most well-performing CME providers with the Accreditation with Commendation label, signifying to physicians that these particular providers are worthwhile.

Internal Medicine CME: Meeting Professional Requirements

All ACCME-accredited CME tools feature an organization’s Accreditation Statement, certifying that the activity at hand upholds the ACCME’s standards. Internal medicine physicians may earn CME credits within two categories designated by the American Medical Association. AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM includes all credits earned in CME activities that are required by organizations granting licenses and certifications. Meanwhile, AMA PRA Category 2 CreditTM represents all CME credits earned independently and voluntarily. The two categories are mutually exclusive; credits for Category 2 may not count towards CME requirements for Category 1.

Does Internal Medicine CME Qualify for MOC?

The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) Program for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) establishes standards across its 24 member boards through a framework of content it organizes into four pillars:

  • Professional Standing and Professionalism;
  • Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment;
  • Assessment of Knowledge, Skills, and Judgment; and
  • Improvement in Medical Practice.

Each ABMS member board has its own set of requirements, monitoring its diplomates’ career progress and MOC.

The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) allows you to use some CME activities toward your ABIM Maintenance of Certification self-assessment requirement. 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.

CME Online: Wherever and Whenever You’re Ready to Learn

Clinicians looking for CME learning online use a variety of methods to keep up with new insights, techniques, and trends in medicine. Dr. John Mandrola told us that he uses Twitter and writing to become “a professional learner.” Dr. Natalie Levy explained that “On my bus commute, my phone is my learning lifeline…I simply put in a little time up front by signing up for alerts from various products, and now it all comes to me.” And Dr. Sara Cohen, juggling her family life with that of a busy physician, says that “Being a mother of young kids has forced me to find ways to keep current in my field using methods that take up only a small percentage of my time,” such as going to local lectures, watching CME-accredited videos online, and completing “self-assessment exams, case studies, and journal CMEs.”

Education platforms like NEJM Knowledge+ Internal Medicine Board Review transform continuing medical education from a nuisance to a convenience. You’re able to answer a question or two on your computer while waiting for a meeting to start, and then another on the NEJM Knowledge+ app for smartphones during a quick elevator ride. The program records your correct and incorrect answers, monitoring and responding to areas of strength and weakness through adaptive learning technology, which has proven to have benefits beyond traditional CME.

For ABIM-certified physicians, you don’t even have to worry about transferring your MOC points. By inputting your ABIM number, the program will automatically transfer your MOC points to ABIM as you earn them. Less hassle, more gain.

NEJM Knowledge+ Fulfills Your Internal Medicine CME, MOC, and Lifelong Learning Requirements

Whether you’re a seasoned practicing physician looking for MOC or an IM resident vying for initial certification, NEJM Knowledge+ is the choice that will best allow you to capitalize on the time you have while maximizing the efficacy of your studying and maybe even having some fun. NEJM Knowledge+ Internal Medicine Board Review includes over 1,730 case-based question sets, two practice exams, access to NEJM Resident 360, and more. Internal medicine CME is a vital and ongoing part of every internist’s career, and NEJM Knowledge+ will help you earn ABIM MOC and CME Credits without overcomplicating your daily life. Check out our demo to see if Internal Medicine Board Review works for you.

What are your favorite ways to earn Internal Medicine CME?