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ACCME Commendation Criteria Review: Engages Patients/Public

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 underly 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.

In the last post in this series, we started reviewing the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) Menu of Criteria for Commendation. In this post, we'll look at the second criterion in the grouping titled Promotes Team-Based Education.

Engages Patients/Public (formerly C24) states as follows:

Patient/public representatives are engaged in the planning and delivery of CME.

The previous criterion focused on the health care team. We talked about all of the different people in a clinic or hospital who make up the team, but we left out a large number of people. We left out the patients, without whom there would be no need for a health care team. It makes sense, therefore, to include patients, their families, and representatives of the community in the planning and delivery of accredited CME.

The requirements for this criterion follow the same basic framework as the previous criterion. There are two critical elements that must be met.

  • The planning committee must include patients and/or public representatives. While it is wonderful to have a patient's voice, this isn't always feasible, and the criterion recognizes that. This is why others who are advocates can fill this role
  • The faculty must include patients and/or public representatives. It's not enough to let patients sit on the planning committee. Your learners should hear their voices, too—or, again, the voices of other advocates who are not normally considered part of the health care team

In order to achieve this criterion, a minimum of 10% of activities should meet these two elements. Even if that threshold is not achievable, this is a best practice to consider while planning new activities. It is easy for health care and medicine to become so focused on the disease that we forget the person who is being treated. Bringing patient's voices into the planning and delivery of CME reminds the rest of the team that those treatments affect more than just a specific tumor. A patient's voice can provide the stories of how the treatment, be it pharmaceutical or interpersonal, can affect the person with that tumor. By including patients or the public in CME, we can help our learners see just how large the health care team is.

Other Posts in This Series CME Mission and Program Improvement Educational Planning and Evaluation Promotes Team-based Education References

ACCME (2020). Accreditation Criteria. Available at:

ACCME (2021). Engages Patients/Public. Available at:

Image courtesy of Amanda Mills

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ACCME Commendation Criteria Review: Engages Teams