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CME Activity Planning Guide

The steps below provide detailed information for planning an educational activity and certifying it for CME credit through the UTHSC College of Medicine.

The mission of the Offices of Continuing Medical Education (CME) is to generate educational activities that produce (expected results) improvements to our learners' competence, performance, and/or patient outcomes.

Before Your CME Activity

Step 1) Review the CME Activity Content Requirements and associated Fees

Read the Content Requirements section on the top of page 2 of the CME Credit Application & Activity Summary to ensure that your activity's content is CME. There may be a fee associated with your activity for CME. Contact the Office of CME with any questions.

Step 2) Choose Administrators & Planners for your CME Activity

  • Assign roles to planners at the beginning of planning for your CME activity. It needs to be clear who will be responsible for compliance with the CME policies and other aspects of the CME activity.
  • The Activity Medical Director and an Activity Coordinator are two primary roles that must take responsibility for administering any UTHSC-certified CME activity. These administrators will be required to sign attestations to ensure that the planning and content of your activity complies with all CME policies.
  • The Activity Medical Director must be an MD or DO.
  • Enlist the help of other planners that can make a significant contribution to the educational content of the CME activity. Additional planners for your CME activity must complete a Commercial Independence Form for Planners.

Step 3) Develop Learning Objectives for your CME Actviity

*Sections 1-5 (pages 2 & 3) of our CME Credit Application & Activity Summary walk you the process of developing learning objectives.

Identify the target audience and a professional practice gap that exists for them. The target audience's professional practice gap will be used to identify specific educational needs, which will be the guide in developing the specific learning objectives for this CME activity. Learning objectives are required to ensure that the activity is designed to improve the professional practice of the target audience. Coordinate with the Office of CME if there are any questions or concerns in developing the learning objectives for this educational activity.

Step 4) Design the Educational Curriculum for your CME Activity

*Sections 5-12 (pages 3 & 4) of our CME Credit Application & Activity Summary walk you the process of designing the educational curriculum for the CME activity.

  • Physician education is the sole purpose for any CME activity. Selecting educational topics, formats, and content providers for a CME activity is best when it is a collaborative effort.
  • Choose educational topics and areas of interest that support the specific learning objectives identified for the target audience.
  • Choose educational formats that will best engage your target audience and facilitate their learning.
  • Choose providers of educational content with expertise on the topics & educational formats chosen.

Refer back to Learning Objectives: Coordinate with providers of educational content to ensure that the content prepared remains focused on the learning objectives identified.

Commercial Independence: The following aspects of this CME activity must be free from control of a commercial interest:

  • identification of educational needs,
  • determination of learning objectives,
  • selection and presentation of content,
  • selection of all persons and organizations that will be in a position to control the content of the CME,
  • selection of the educational formats and methods, and
  • evaluation of the activity.

Step 5) Plan the Agenda for your CME Activity

The agenda provided with your CME Credit Application should include breaks between educational sessions, related social events, and all other activities you expect your attendees to engage in. Commercial breaks are prohibited in the educational space.

Step 6) Have all Planners & Speakers complete a Commercial Independence form

All planners and speakers (or other providers of educational content) for the CME activity must complete a Commercial Independence form at least 1 week prior to the activity, which has them disclose their relevant financial relationships (or the lack thereof) and agree to comply with CME policies. All planners must complete the Commercial Independence form for Planners, and all speakers and other providers of educational content must complete the Commercial Independence form for Speakers.

Step 7) Commercial Independence Form Review & Notification

The Activity Medical Director and Activity Coordinator must review the Commercial Independence form for every planner & speaker. Notify the Office of CME immediately whenever someone has checked "Yes" to both Yes/No questions on the bottom of page 1 of the form. See the Conflict of Interest Policy section of the CME Credit Application for more information.

Step 8) Choose a Venue for your CME Activity

What venue will work best for your target audience and the educational topics, content & formats you have chosen? Are any food/beverages, social events, or other learner accommodations appropriate? All aspects of your CME activity should be designed to facilitate learning and the specific needs of the target audience. When choosing a venue, consider facility costs and make sure the venue you choose supports the general audio, visual & technology needs of the educational formats chosen. Determine what services (if any) the venue provides for any food/beverages, social events, or other amenities that you plan to provide to learners, so these can be arranged from another source if not provided by the venue. Expenses for social events may not be paid directly from a commercial interest.

Step 9) Plan the Accommodations & Amenities for Learners

Make arrangements for any accommodations and amenities that you will provide to learners at your CME activity such as the program materials, educational materials, name tags, limited seating, food/beverages, advance registration, etc. For live activities where you provide seating, printed materials, food/beverages or other limited accommodations, consider allowing attendees to register in advance, so that you do not provide significantly too few or too many accommodations. Meals or social events may not compete with or take precedence over the educational content.

Step 10) Prepare the Supporting Documents for your CME Credit Application

You are required to provide 6-8 supporting documents with your CME Credit Application & Activity Summary depending on how many hours of education your activity has and whether or not your will receive commercial support for the activity. The CME Credit Application webpage is a useful resource for the required supporting documents because it provides more information about the required documentation and templates to get you started.

Step 11) Apply for CME Credit for your educational activity

Submit the CME Credit Application & Activity Summary. There should be a reasonable level of commitment from all parties that will contribute to the CME activity before submitting an application.

Step 12) Promote your CME Activity

No CME Marketing Prior to CME Approval.
Promotion of CME credit for an educational activity is prohibited until the activity has been approved by the Office of CME; this includes statements such as "CME credit has been applied for", use of the Credit & Accreditation statements, and mention of the UTCOM's affiliation with your activity.

Important: Activity promotion is a key ingredient to earning attendance if your activity does not already have a devoted following.

Required Statements: All marketing materials for a CME activity that mention CME credit must include the AMA Credit statement and Accreditation statement, as explained in the Promotion of Your CME Activity section of the Application.

Step 13) Coordinate the Receipt of any Revenues for your CME Activity (if applicable)

Common revenues received for CME activities include registration fees, exhibiting fees, advertising fees, and educational grants or other types of commercial support. Many CME activities do not charge registration fees, but physicians are often willing to pay registration fees to attend activities with several hours of CME credit related to topics that interest them. Any commercial support received from a commercial interest must be coordinated through the Office of CME, but all other revenues do not require our involvement.

Step 14) Complete a Letter of Agreement for each disbursement of Commercial Support received for this activity (if applicable)

A letter of agreement must be signed between the commercial interest, UTCOM, and your organization for each disbursement of commercial support (financial or in-kind) received for your CME activity. You can use a letter of agreement from the commercial interest if they provided one, or use our Commercial Support Letter of Agreement template if the commercial interest did not provide one.

Step 15) Create the Program Materials & Educational Materials 

Prepare all of the program materials and educational materials that will be provided to learners for your CME activity. Printed program materials & educational materials will need to be coordinated with your printer. Digital program materials & educational materials will require formatting the content digitally and providing access to learners.

Program Materials Content: Your program materials should contain an overview of the activity, the agenda or schedule, and information about the expertise of the speakers and other providers of educational content, but several disclosures also need to be included in some part of your program materials for CME purposes:

a) Learning objectives for the activity,

b) The AMA Credit statement and Accreditation statement,

c) Relevant financial relationships (or lack thereof) for all speakers (and other providers of educational content), and

d) Any commercial support received for the activity (if applicable); see the Disclosures to Learners section of the CME Credit Application for details about what is required in disclosing each piece of information listed above.

Educational Materials Content: All educational content should be evidence-based, educational (not promotional), and unbiased by commercial interests, and all speakers and other providers of educational content agree to these policies when they complete a Commercial Independence form.

Content Limitations: Educational materials that are part of a CME activity such as handouts, abstracts & slides may not contain any advertising, trade name, or product-group messages. Printed advertisements and promotional materials may not be interleafed within the pages of the CME content, but they may face the first or last pages of printed CME content as long as these materials are not related to the CME content they face. Schedules, content descriptions, and other information that is not directly related to the transfer of education to the learner may include advertisements and/or product-promotion messages.

During Your CME Activity

Step 16) Distribute the Program Materials and Educational Materials to Learners Prior to the Education

The program materials for your CME activity contain important disclosures and CME statements that learners need prior to the education. All program materials and educational materials should be provided to the learners at your CME activity prior to the education.

Step 17) Ensure Compliance with CME Policies

Several issues require compliance with CME policies during your activity. Most of these are taken care of in the planning stages, but we address them again here (in this guide) as useful reminders.

Disclosures to Learners: The following disclosures must be provided to learners: the learning objectives for the activity,

  • the AMA Credit statement and Accreditation statement,
  • the relevant financial relationships (or lack thereof) for all planners & speakers (and other providers of educational content), and
  • any commercial support received (if applicable).

Promotion during your CME Activity:

  • Commercial exhibits or advertisements may not influence planning, interfere with the presentation, or be a condition of the provision of commercial support for CME activities.
  • Promotional exhibits/activities/interactions, advertisements, and promotional materials are prohibited in the educational space immediately before, during, and after a CME activity.
  • Commercial breaks are prohibited.
  • Educational materials that are part of a CME activity such as handouts, abstracts & slides may not contain any advertising, trade name, or product-group messages.
  • Printed advertisements and promotional materials may not be interleafed within the pages of the CME content.
  • Schedules, content descriptions, and other information that is not directly related to the transfer of education to the learner may include advertisements and/or product-promotion messages.

Step 18) Evaluate your CME Activity

Evaluations: Your CME activity must be evaluated, and must include a question that asks learners if they perceived commercial bias at the activity. See CME Credit Application for more information about evaluating your CME activity.

Step 19) Have learners complete a Credit Declaration form (if 2 hours or more of CME)

If 2 or more hours of Education: If your CME activity has 2 or more hours of CME, you need to create a Credit Declaration form for learners to complete after the CME activity as a way of attesting which sessions they attended.

After Your CME Activity

Step 20) Close-out your CME Activity

  • Complete the CME Activity Closeout form
  • An attendance roster of learners who participated in the activity must be provided to the CM office. For activities 2 hours or longer, the attendance roster should coincide with the learner’s credit declaration forms.
  • Request issuance of CME credit certificates for the activity. Visit the CME Activity Closeout webpage for more information.

Step 21) Process the payment for CME services

Does not apply to UTCOM departments.

After submitting the CME Activity Closeout form and supporting documents, you will receive an invoice for the CME services provided for your activity (course certification, issuance of CME credit certificates, and commercial support administration (if applicable)).

Additional Planning Considerations

About Compliance with CME Policies

All CME activities certified by the UTCOM are expected to be planned, implemented, and evaluated in compliance with the criteria established by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) as well as the policies of the Office of CME at the UTCOM (as outlined in the CME Credit Application and the Commercial Independence forms).

Budgeting and Financial Obligation

The host organization accepts responsibility for any financial profits or loss incurred for a CME activity. Payment for UTCOM CME services is not contingent upon the profitability (or lack thereof) of the CME activity.

CME Oversight of your CME Activity

At least one UTCOM staff member will be considered a complimentary attendee of the activity in order to ensure compliance with the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support.

Activity Classifications

The UTCOM classifies CME activities in two ways: by sponsorship type by activity type.

  • CME activities can be classified by sponsorship by simply identifying who plans, implements, and evaluates the activity. If a CME activity is planned, implemented & evaluated by the UT College of Medicine staff, it is a directly-sponsored activity. If it is planned, implemented & evaluated by another organization, it is a jointly-sponsored activity. 

  • CME activities can also be classified by activity type as a 1) single conference, 2) multiple-conference series, 3) regularly-scheduled series (e.g., grand rounds), or 4) enduring material (printed, recorded, or computer-).

Fees

Please contact the Office of CME at UTHSC for fees for CME services at the UTCOM.

Aug 30, 2022