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ACCME Commendation Criteria Review: Collaborates Effectively

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.

The second set of ACCME commendation criteria are grouped around addressing public health priorities. We have reached the final criterion in this set.

Collaborates Effectively (formerly C28) states:

The provider collaborates with other organizations to more effectively address population health issues.

In this group of commendation criteria, we have focused on data use and population health, both of which may be difficult to address within your institution. This is fairly easy to understand when it comes to addressing population health. One clinic is not going to fix the high rate of Black maternal mortality, but if institutions work together, they might be able to address some of the systemic issues that contribute to that health disparity. Depending on the nature of your institution, though, it may be more difficult to see how data use can benefit from organizational collaboration. For example, I spent several years of my career working in a medical school. While that school has affiliated hospitals, they are all separate institutions. The patient data relevant to many of our activities was, effectively, behind a wall. But through collaboration, we were able to work with our affiliates as true partners in our educational endeavors, including some access to that relevant data.

There are two critical elements in this criterion:

  • At least one collaboration must exist between your program and another organization
  • You need to show how this collaboration improves your program's ability to address population health issues

To achieve this criterion, you must show four examples of collaboration. This does not mean that you need four separate collaborations. You don't even need to create a new collaboration. Perhaps, as noted in my example, you have an existing relationship with another organization. That meets the first critical element. If that collaboration produces at least four activities that are designed to improve population health, you have four examples to share. Do you have to be successful in your endeavors? No. Hopefully you will be, but the criteria in this group are focused on a long game. While a single activity might not be considered a statistical success, the ongoing collaboration and focus on a public health issue may lead to the changes necessary to improve public health. It's not about one doctor in one practice. It's about all of us working together.

Other Posts in This Series

CME Mission and Program Improvement

Educational Planning and Evaluation

Promotes Team-based Education

Addresses Public Health Priorities


ACCME (2020). Accreditation Criteria. Available at:

ACCME (2021). Collaborates Effectively. Available at:

Image credit: Julian Kücklich. Licensed under CC0 1.0

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