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Glossary of CME Terms

The following definitions will help you in understanding the process of certifying your educational activity for CME credit through the Office of CME at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC):

Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) - the organization that accredits other organizations to provide continuing medical education to physicians.

ACCME-accredited provider OR accredited provider - see provider.

accreditation statement - a standardized statement that tells learners that the University of Tennessee College of Medicine is accredited to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The accreditation statement is required to be on all promotional materials (except save-the-date notifications) and in some part of the program materials for your CME activity.

activity materials - the materials (printed and/or digital) provided to the learners at a CME activity.  For a CME activity these typically include the educational materials (slides, abstracts, handouts, etc) as well as the agenda/schedule, CME disclosures, and an activity evaluation.

Activity Medical Director - the activity planner that is ultimately responsible for ensuring that a CME activity is planned, implemented, and evaluated in compliance with ACCME & AMA policies. The Activity Medical Director for a UTCOMC-certified CME activity must be an MD or DO.

Activity Coordinator - the activity planner that is primarily responsible for coordinating the planning, implementation, and evaluation of a CME activity in accordance with ACCME & AMA policies.

agenda - the dates and times of your CME activity; include breaks, social events, etc in your agenda.

AMA credit designation statement - a standardized statement about CME credit that is required to be on all promotional materials (except Save-the-Date reminders) for a CME activity. Contact the Office of CME for the credit statement for your CME activity.

attendee - the learner in a live CME activity.

CME activity - an educational offering that is planned, implemented, and evaluated in accordance with the ACCME policies for continuing medical education activities.

CME policies - the rules and guidelines governing the planning, content or presentation, implementation & evaluation of a CME activity. These are communicated through the CME Credit Application and Activity Summary and the Commercial Independence form for Speakers.

CME provider - see provider.

commercial break - promotion of a commercial interest between educational sessions in the space where education takes place at a CME activity.

commercial support - financial or in-kind support from ineligible companies.  The requirements for receiving and managing commercial support are explained in the Commercial Support section of the CME Credit Application.

competence - the ability to apply knowledge, skills, or judgment in practice.

conflict of interest - for CME purposes this is when an individual has an opportunity to affect CME content in favor of a commercial interest with which he/she has a financial relationship.

course - a CME activity that is designated for credit as a single activity. Examples include a live annual meeting/conference/symposium or an on-demand module. Note that a CME course can be offered multiple times. This is NOT an online course or module. See Enduring Material.

credit declaration form - a form used by learners to indicate which educational sessions they attended.

directly-sponsored - a CME activity that is planned, implemented, and evaluated by the accredited provider.

disclosure - the act of providing information (to the Office of CME and to the learners) in order to make a CME activity as transparent and balanced as possible. 

educational format - the method of delivery for your educational content. Examples include i) lecture/didactic (presentations, demonstrations, etc), ii) case discussion/study or group problem solving, iii) simulation or skill-based or other hands-on training, and iv) audience interactions (audience response system).

educational material - presentation slides, handouts, and other materials used to educate or supplement education at a CME activity.

educational need - the education that is necessary or useful for improving your target audience's professional practice. Educational needs should improve the knowledge, competence, and/or performance of your audience. 

eligible company - a company whose mission & function are providing clinical services directly to patients, the education of healthcare professionals, serving as a fiduciary to patients/the public/population health, or other organizations that are not otherwise ineligible (see ineligible companies). Examples include Ambulatory procedure centers, Blood banks, Diagnostic Labs that do not sell proprietary products, Electronic Health Records companies, Government or military agencies, Group medical practices, Health law firms, Health profession membership organizations, Hospitals or healthcare delivery systems, Infusion centers, Insurance or managed care companies, Nursing homes, Pharmacies that do not manufacture proprietary compounds, Publishing or education companies, Rehabilitation centers, Schools of Medicine or health science universities, and Software or game developers.

enduring material - see on-demand activity below.

evaluation - a form used by learners to provide feedback on a CME activity. CME activities are required to administer an evauation in order to measure learning and gather feedback.

evidence-based - within CME, evidence-based means that a) all recommendations for patient care are based on current science, evidence & clinical reasoning while giving a fair & balanced view of diagnostic & therapeutic options and that b) all scientific research referred to, reported, or used in support or justification of a patient care recommendation must conform to the generally accepted standards of experimental design, data collection, analysis & interpretation.

ineligible company - an entity whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients. Examples include Advertising/Marketing/Communication firms, Bio-Medical Startups that have begun a governmental regulatory approval process, Compounding Pharmacies that manufacture proprietary compounds, Device manufacturers/distributors, Diagnostic Labs that sell proprietary products, growers/distributors/manufacturers/sellers of Medical Foods & Dietary Supplements, manufacturers of Health-Related Wearable Products, Pharmaceutical companies/distributors, Pharmacy Benefits managers. and Reagent manufacturers/sellers.

in-kind support - the loan or donation of equipment, supplies, or services. In-kind support is considered commercial support whenever the entity providing it is a commercial interest, but it just considered a gift or donation (not commercial support) if the entity providing it is not a commercial interest by definition.

jointly-provided- a CME activity that is planned, implemented, and evaluated by the non-accredited entity and the accredited provider.

learner - the physician or medical professional being educated through a CME activity.

learning objectives - the educational goals for your CME activity. Your learning objectives answer the question, "What should learners be able to do after participating in your CME activity?". Our CME Application walks you through creating learning objectives for your CME activity. 

live activity - a CME activity where learners participate as it occurs (as opposed to on-demand activities where learners determine when & where they participate).

on-demand activity - an activity that is offered over a specified time where the learner decides when & from where to complete the activity. Examples include recorded online video modules, online booklet/pages modules, podcasts, etc.

"off-label" use - when medical drugs, devices, or services are used in ways that are not approved by the United States Food & Drug Administration.

participant - the learner in CME activity.

patient outcomes - the result of medical care for the patient.

performance - the abilities & tasks a medical provider performs while providing healthcare.

professional practice gap - the difference between your target audience's current professional practice and the ideal/desired/optimal professional practice in terms of knowledge, competence, performance, and/or patient outcomes. The professional practice gap for an activity answers the question, "How is your target audience's current professional practice less than ideal or how could it be better in terms of its knowledge, competence, performance, and/or patient outcomes?"

program materials - see activity materials.

promotional material - any material (printed or digital) that is used to promote a CME activity. Common examples include brochures, postcards or mailers, announcements or invitations, newsletters/E-newsletters, emails, web pages, advertisements, etc.

provider or CME provider- an organization accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education to physicians. The University of Tennessee is an ACCME-accredited provider.

relevant financial relationship - a financial relationship with an ineligible company where a planner or speaker/author received money within the past 24 months.

save-the-date - a promotional material (printed or digital) that only gives basic information such as the date, topic, & speaker name about a CME activity.

series or regularly-scheduled series (RSS) - a live CME activity with multiple, ongoing sessions that are offered weekly, monthly, quarterly, or at another regular interval and which discuss a different topic at each session. Examples include grand rounds, tumor conferences and other patient case review conferences, journal clubs, etc. RSS's are often primarily planned by and presented to the provider's professional staff.

Standards for Integrity & Independence in Accredited Continuing Education - policies established by the ACCME that govern a CME activity and ensure that the activity is independent from commercial bias & marketing/sales/promotion.

target audience - the physicians & other medical professionals you seek to educate through your CME activity. For a CME activity, this is always medical doctors (MD's) and/or doctors of osteopathy (DO's).

unbiased - unaffected; not under the influence or control of something. In CME, the term 'unbiased' is typically used to mean free from the control of commercial interests. 

UTCOM - The University of Tennessee College of Medicine

UTHSC - The University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Nov 23, 2022