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New Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education

Back in July, I wrote a post on Speaking the Same Language as a guide to help you understand some of the lingo that is specific to the field of healthcare continuing professional development (CPD). As of last week, that guide is now out of date. Last week, the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) released their new Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education to replace the old Standards for Commercial Support, and with these new standards, some of our language has changed. Providers have about a year to implement the new standards. Here at i3 Health, we're in the process of updating our forms and policies, and we plan to have the new standards implemented by January.

While it is best to read the full standards, the following is a summary of what you should know.

Key Points
  • 1.) These standards have been adopted by six accrediting bodies, including the ACCME and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), so the expectations we must meet are uniform across the accrediting bodies we work with
  • 2.) We have new language for organizations that can be accredited and those that can't. These are now eligible organizations or ineligible companies
  • 3.) Individuals who are owners or employees of ineligible companies have unresolvable financial relationships. There are, however, three exceptions that allow them to participate in CPD: 1) the content of the activity is unrelated to the ineligible company, 2) the activity is about basic science research, or 3) they are teaching how to use a medical device
  • 4.) Disclosure forms were previously used to ask for relevant financial relationships with commercial entities in the past 12 months. Now we ask for all financial relationships with ineligible companies within the past 24 months. Our reviewers will determine whether or not any of the disclosed relationships are relevant to the activity.

While we're able to adopt the new standards pretty quickly, not every organization is as small and streamlined as i3 Health, so if you work with other accreditors, it may be a few months before you start seeing these changes elsewhere. We'll do our best to start using the new language of ineligible companies instead of commercial entities. Changing our disclosure form is easy. Remembering to use the new language when writing emails or discussing new activities will take a bit of practice.


Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (2020). Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education. Available at 

Image credit: Karbyn. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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