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University of Utah Earns Highest Level of CME Accreditation


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Jun 29, 2010 1:00 AM

"This accreditation means that we are an honest broker of CME: you can trust the U to provide quality continuing medical education." -Jack Dolcourt, M.D. Associate Dean for CME

No field of knowledge may be advancing as quickly as medicine in this digital age. Patients benefit from cutting edge science when their physicians stay up-to-date. That means attending conferences, reading journals, and adopting advances from research presented by colleagues. In fact, in order to maintain their medical license, physicians must participate in continuing medical education (CME). Organizations offering CME must regularly pass an accreditation process that judges the quality of their CME activities.

This spring, the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) performed a thorough review of the University’s activities relating to ongoing education of physicians and other licensed health care providers. After the exhaustive analysis, the U was awarded “accreditation with commendation,” the highest level of accreditation available, valid for six years rather than the usual four. Out of more than 700 nationally accredited organizations that are authorized to award CME credit, less than 10 percent receive this honor.

“We had to show that our CME is strategic, and has made a real difference to physicians and patients,” said Jack Dolcourt, M.D., associate dean for continuing medical education (CME) and professor of pediatrics. “CME is all about improving professional practice.” Good CME starts with identifying areas where improvements can and should occur, and then designing the curriculum to bring about the desired changes. Additionally, good CME must be completely free of any commercial influence and bias, and the instructional content should reflect the best-available evidence. And it takes faculty who are experts in their field. “This accreditation means that we are an honest broker of CME: you can trust the U to provide quality continuing medical education.”

CME activities are often attended by the whole health care team. Last year the U’s CME program provided more than 3,600 hours of instruction to more than 17,000 physicians and 24,000 non-physicians. This year, the program will be offering more than 60 regularly scheduled ongoing events such as grand rounds, and nearly 50 stand-alone courses. 

No one is more pleased with the outstanding performance of CME than David Bjorkman, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine. “We’ve demonstrated that our excellence goes beyond training students and carrying out individual research. It’s a communal effort that raises the standard of care for every physician who practices with us and every patient who walks through our doors.”

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