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ACCME Commendation Criteria Review: Improves Patient/Community Health

Whether you are an accredited provider such as i3 Health or you are an educational partner working with an accredited provider, it's still important to understand the criteria that underlie continuing medical education (CME) activities. This is part of a periodic series of posts looking at what each criterion means in general and what it might mean for you.

We have reached the final criterion in this series on ACCME Commendation Criteria. "Improves Patient/Community Health" is in the grouping of "Achieves Outcomes," meaning it is part of the group from which providers must select at least one commendation criterion. This criterion (formerly C38) states:

The provider demonstrates the impact of the CME program on patients or their communities.

There are two critical elements in this criterion.

  • You need to collaborate in the process of improving patient or community health.
  • You need to demonstrate that the collaboration has led to some sort of improvement.

To achieve this criterion, over the course of your accreditation term, you need to show two successful collaborations.

You should note that the three criteria under "Achieves Outcomes" are progressively broader. The first focuses on improvement at the individual level. The second focuses on the healthcare system. The third focuses on the patients and communities that interact with individual providers and the healthcare system as a whole. Depending on the organization in which you work, this criterion may be difficult to meet simply because you may not have access to the right data. Because of that, this is another criterion that overlaps well with "Collaborates Effectively." By working with another organization, it's possible to achieve both "Improves Patient/Community Health" and "Collaborates Effectively."

It makes sense that this is the final criterion. The purpose of CME is to help physicians be better at caring for patients. The ultimate goal of providing better patient care is that this will lead to better outcomes, not just for individual patients, but for the community as a whole. While it may not be easy to prove that this is happening, it is a goal that we, as CME providers, should keep in mind. By helping our learners improve, we can help the communities in which we live improve, too.

Other Posts in This Series CME Mission and Program Improvement Educational Planning and Evaluation Promotes Team-based Education Addresses Public Health Priorities Enhances Skills Demonstrates Educational Leadership Achieves Outcomes References

ACCME (2020). Accreditation Criteria. Available at: https://www.accme.org/accreditation-rules/accreditation-criteria

ACCME (2022). Improves Patient/Community Health. Available at: https://www.accme.org/accreditation-rules/accreditation-criteria/improves-patientcommunity-health 

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