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ACCME Releases New Report to Advance Patient Engagement in CME

18 Nov 2019 10:25 AM | NAMEC Staff (Administrator)

The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®) released Learning Together: Engaging Patients as Partners in Accredited Continuing Medical Education — Report from the ACCME 2019 Meeting. The report offers educators strategies and tips for engaging patients as partners in planning and teaching continuing medical education (CME). Through their participation, patients can increase the meaning, relevance, and effectiveness of CME and contribute to improving care for patients and communities.

Highlights from Learning Together

The report summarizes the Learning Together track held at the ACCME 2019 Annual Meeting, including strategies for designing patient-centered research, collaborating with patients in CME, and faculty development for patients and educators. Patient-partners participated in the Learning Together track as planners and faculty, and their perspective is woven throughout the report.

Learning Together: Engaging Patients as Partners in Accredited Continuing Medical Education includes:

  • Reflections from a patient-partner
  • Tips for developing a patient inclusion action plan
  • Case study: Building a patient-partner continuing education planning committee
  • Patient-partner readiness checklist
  • Seven key recommendations

Coming Soon

An online course, “Learning Together with Patient-Partners in CME,” will be available soon on the ACCME website. Using a narrative case study, the course explores how patient-partners contribute to CME and provides strategies for integrating patient-partners into the planning and delivery of CME.

Rewarding Patient Engagement in CME

The Learning Together initiative builds on ACCME’s efforts to support the inclusion of patients in CME for clinicians and teams. In its Menu of Criteria for Accreditation with Commendation, the ACCME includes a criterion that recognizes accredited organizations that incorporate patients as planners and faculty in educational programming. This criterion is included because accredited CME is enhanced when it incorporates the interests of the people who are served by the healthcare system.

Leadership Comments

“As a patient advocate, I have encouraged patient involvement in as many areas as possible, including medical education and research. This report will help CME providers take that first step forward and do what they can today to engage patient-partners in CME. I am so proud of the work we’ve done together, and I look forward to seeing where we go from here."—Melissa Hicks, Patient-Partner, ACCME; Stanford Medicine X; Member, Advisory Panel for Clinical Effectiveness and Decision Science, PCORI

"We celebrate the participation of our patient-partners in our Learning Together initiative. By sharing their expertise and perspectives, they make invaluable contributions to our community of educators. In my experience as a clinician, educator, and learner, I’ve found that patients can be our best teachers. Patient inclusion in CME can engage clinicians’ hearts as well as minds and reinforce the reasons why our work matters. Together we can create a CME community that not only aims to support clinicians in delivering optimal healthcare for all—but strives toward that goal with patients as partners." —Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, President and CEO, ACCME 

Download the report here:

More Resources

  • Patient Involvement in CME: This webpage includes tips and tools about including patients as planners and faculty in education for clinicians and teams
  • Coffee with Graham: in this podcast, Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, President and CEO, ACCME, discusses ways that educators can engage patients in CME.


Learning Together: Engaging Patients in Professional Development of Physicians and Healthcare Teams,” is part of a portfolio of projects that PCORI has funded to help develop a community of patients and other stakeholders equipped to participate as partners in comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) and disseminate PCORI-funded study results.  Through the Engagement Award Program, PCORI is creating an expansive network of individuals, communities and organizations interested in and able to participate in, share, and use patient-centered CER.

The ACCME project and the other projects approved for funding by the PCORI Engagement Award Program were selected through a highly competitive review process in which applications were assessed for their ability to meet PCORI’s engagement goals and objectives, as well as program criteria.


PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund comparative effectiveness research that will provide patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence needed to make better-informed health and healthcare decisions. PCORI is committed to seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work.


The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®) is a nonprofit organization based in Chicago, responsible for accrediting organizations that offer continuing medical education (CME) and for recognizing state medical societies as accreditors of local CME programs. The ACCME is a cofounder of Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education™.

The ACCME sets standards for CME that reflect the values of the educator community and aim to accelerate learning, inspire change, and champion improvement in healthcare. These standards ensure that accredited CME is designed to be relevant to clinicians’ needs, evidence-based, evaluated for its effectiveness, and independent of commercial influence. Through participation in accredited CME, clinicians and teams drive improvement in their practice and optimize the care, health, and wellness of their patients.

Accredited CME facilitates engagement with physicians and healthcare teams where they live, learn, and work. There are approximately 1,700 accredited CME providers within the ACCME System, across the country and internationally, representing a range of organizations including medical schools, hospitals/health systems, government/military agencies, specialty societies, and insurance/managed-care companies. Accredited providers offer about 180,000 activities each year, comprising more than one million hours of instruction and including more than 36 million interactions with physicians and other healthcare professionals.

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