Participating in CME activities should be a positive experience for practitioners, empowering them through learning for better patient care and meaningful professional development.
There are a number of ways to track, document and report your participation in CME activities and they all revolve around your CME certificate. CME certificates are used to validate your participation in a CME activity.
In order to receive full credit from the appropriate authority, you’ll need to ensure the CME documentation and reporting process is done properly and the correct forms are completed.
CME Certificates and CME Reporting
Participating in activities is great for learning but to receive credit and make progress toward a medical license and other credentialing goals, you have to report your CME activities accurately and in a timely manner. Reporting requirements can differ based on your medical discipline and your reasons for reporting your participation and credits.
How to report a CME activity and the number of credits you earn differ by activity. However, in many cases, your CME provider (the company or organization that offers an accredited CME activity) will supply you with a certificate of completion indicating you participated. It is up to the learner to report their level of participation in an activity to earn full credit or, in some cases, pass an exam.
For providers who supply AMA PRA credits like CME Seminars, non-physicians can receive a Certificate of Attendance validating their participation in a CME activity. Physicians and other health professionals who complete a CME Seminars live CME conference activity for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ will receive a certificate of participation delivered digitally. Some providers can request to receive a hard copy of certificates.
CME Reporting Basics
Self-reporting involves practitioners compiling and detailing their participation in CME, typically using official forms. Many CME activities rely on some form of self-reporting. Practitioners have a variety of tools at their disposal to validate their CME experience, complete the reporting process and expedite its processing. Participants may be able to use electronic databases supplied by professional medical organizations to find specific activities and submit their own certificates along with the digital record to quickly verify and validate credit.
Increasingly, secure digital profiles through professional organizations like the American Medical Association provide an ongoing, up to date history of a medical professional’s credentials and CME progress. While digital profiles are unlikely to replace all of the manual steps involved in reporting, they significantly simplify the process. As cybersecurity measures involving digital reporting improve, digital profiles will become the norm.
Types of CME Reporting
Different types of practitioners have different reporting requirements depending on their CME goals and the type of activity they participated in. For AMA PRA Category 1 Credit, reports may be sent to CME authorities such as:
- State medical boards
- Compliance regulators
- Professional medical associations (like the AMA)
- Medical specialty boards (such as the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
- Payers (health insurance companies)
- Individual healthcare facilities (including your employer)
Official documents can include:
- AMA Physicians Recognition Award applications
- Proof of maintenance of certification points
- Certificates of participation for Category 1 credit
- Certificates of Attendance for non-physicians
- Category 1-A forms (for osteopathic physicians reporting to the American Osteopathic Association)
- Category 1-B forms (for osteopathic physicians reporting to the American Osteopathic Association)
Manually reporting is historically how practitioners have gone about reporting their CME activities. CME providers supply hard copies of certificates, which participants mail to the appropriate authority by the designed deadlines. Manual reporting requires participants to be highly mindful of deadlines set by state medical boards and other authorities.
In the digital age, a number of solutions are emerging that help to streamline CME reporting process automated digital processes. Companies entering the marketplace are working on connecting a number of different agencies, authorities and associations that require reported documentation to validate activity participation and log CME credits. It is becoming more common for activities, particularly online CME activities, to have an automatic reporting facet based on the information you provided when you signed up or prior to an activity.
Self-Reporting for Category 2
Some activities can be completed without the formal experiences offered by a CME provider like CME Seminars. AMA PRA Category 2 Credit™ is an activity completed entirely by self-report and no certification is issued. The AMA and ACCME empower practitioners to report participation in these activities honestly and accurately. A portion of a physician’s biannual or annual medical license recertification requirements can be completed via Category 2 activities. Refer directly to your state board to determine your specific licensing requirements.
CME Seminars’ CertStore
CME Seminars’ certificate storage and credit tracking platform, CertStore, assists practitioners in staying organized while keeping track of the credits they’ve earned. Simple to use without unnecessary features, CertStore makes it easy to upload and download certificates and other important CME related documents. Plus, the handy credit calculator helps you stay on top of your progress toward CME goals.