Q.What is Continuing Professional Education (CPE)?
A.All healthcare professionals are required to participate in continuing professional development throughout their careers. Educational activities which serve to maintain, develop, or increase the knowledge, skills and professional performance of healthcare professionals are known as continuing education (CE). The purpose of CE is to improve the ability of healthcare professionals in caring for patients. The content of CE is the body of knowledge and skills generally accepted to be within basic medical sciences, clinical medicine, and the provision of healthcare to the public. CE may also be called continuing medical education (CME) when referring specifically to continuing education for physicians.
What are the categories of CME and what do they mean? American Medical Association (AMA) PRA Category 1 Credit® is the most commonly accepted form of CME credit for physicians. AMA PRA Credit is recognized and accepted by hospital credentialing bodies, state medical licensure boards, medical specialty certifying boards, medical specialty societies, Joint Commission and other organizations. AMA PRA Credit is also the basis for receiving the AMA Physician’s Recognition Award.
Q.Is the American Urological Association (AUA) an accredited provider of continuing education?
A.Yes, the AUA has been accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) since 1977. The AUA was most recently reaccredited with commendation for a six-year term through July 2014.
Q.Why is accreditation important?
A.Accreditation by the ACCME is a mark of quality for CE activities that are planned, implemented, and evaluated by ACCME accredited providers in accordance with ACCME’s Essential Areas and Elements and Accreditation Policies. ACCME accreditation assures the medical community and the public that such activities provide physicians with information that can assist them in maintaining or improving their practice of medicine. Visit www.ACCME.org for additional information about CME accreditation.
Q.How do I identify legitimate AMA PRA Category 1 Credit® activities?
A.AMA PRA Category 1 Credit® may only be awarded by the AMA or by organizations accredited by ACCME or an ACCME-recognized state medical society (SMS). Visit www.ACCME.org for a list of the approximately 2,500 recognized providers. Physicians should be aware that some non-accredited organizations advertise “Category 1 Credits” or “CMEs offered” but these are not the same as “AMA PRA Category 1 Credits®.” When selecting CME activities, physicians should be certain the credit is being awarded by an accredited CME provider. Accredited CME providers are required to have two statements on their promotional materials: One must state the source of their accreditation (ACCME or SMS), while the other designates the maximum number of AMA PRA Category 1 Credits® for the activity. To help physicians identify legitimate AMA PRA Category 1 Credit® activities, the AMA requires its CME providers to trademark the credit phrase (“AMA PRA Category 1 Credit®”). If credit is not indicated in this manner, physicians should question whether the activity is in fact eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit®.
Q.What is a commercial interest?
A.ACCME defines a “commercial interest” as a proprietary entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing healthcare goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients, with the exemption of nonprofit or government organizations and non-healthcare related companies.
Q.What involvement do commercial interests have in AUA CE activities?
A.None. Commercial support is given in the form of unrestricted, independent educational financial or in-kind grants. The AUA ensures that commercial interests have no influence or control over the content of any educational activity. The AUA independently determines CE needs, educational objectives, all persons in a position to control the content, the educational methods and activity evaluations.
Q.How do I know the content is valid and based on science rather than biased toward a particular point of view?
A.All persons in a position to control the content of an educational activity (i.e., activity planners, presenters, authors) participating in an educational activity provided by the AUA are required to disclose to the provider any relevant financial relationships with any commercial interest. The AUA must determine if the individual’s relationships may influence the educational content and resolve any conflicts of interest prior to the commencement of the educational activity. The intent of this disclosure is not to prevent individuals with relevant financial relationships from participating, but rather to provide learners information with which they can make their own judgments.
All disclosures will be reviewed by the program/course directors or editors for identification of conflicts of interest. Peer reviewers, working with the program directors and/or editors, will document the mechanism(s) for management and resolution of the conflict of interest and final approval of the activity will be documented prior to implementation. Any of the mechanisms below can/will be used to resolve conflict of interest:
Additional information is included in the AUA’s Principles, Policies and Procedures for Managing Conflicts of Interest.
Q.How is a CE activity planned?
A.The first step is determining the educational need. Information on educational need may be based on surveys of AUA learners, members of planning committees and subject matter experts, new practice guidelines or techniques, the medical literature and many other sources. The second step is to identify professional practice gaps and link educational needs with desired results through learning objectives that are built around the documented practice gap and allow for measurement of results. The third step involves evaluating the effectiveness of the CE activity in meeting the identified need and professional practice gap. The best way to do that is to demonstrate how, as the result of the activity, improvements in knowledge, competence, or performance in practice were achieved. Activity evaluations and information about outcomes guide future educational activities.
Q.Who is involved in CE planning?
A.The Board of Directors is the governing body of the AUA. The Board of Directors established the Education Council to provide direction to the overall program. This Council oversees and reviews the program in terms of the educational mission of the AUA. The Chair of Education (a paid physician consultant) serves as the medical advisor to the Office of Education. All individuals involved in the planning of each activity will be clearly identified and their names will be provided to activity participants prior to their participation in the activity.
Q.What documentation does a participant receive for participating in a CE activity? How long must the AUA maintain participation records?
A.The AUA issues a certificate of CME credits for physicians or certificate of attendance for non-physicians at the completion of an educational activity. Records verifying participation will be maintained by the AUA for six years from the date of the activity.