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April 15, 2021

Changes to the Standards for Integrity and Independence in Continuing Medical Education

Author Affiliations
  • 1Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA. 2021;325(18):1833-1834. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.0213

Trust is core to the value of accredited continuing education. Physicians and other health care professionals, patients, and the public must be able to trust that accredited education is delivering scientifically accurate content that is free from industry manipulation and influence. Although the interests of health care and industry sometimes diverge, both are legitimate, and collaboration between health care professionals and industry can advance patient care.

Because health care professionals serve as the legally mandated prescribers of medications, are responsible for the use of many devices, and are trusted authorities when advising patients, educators must protect the learning environment from industry influence to ensure the profession remains true to its ethical commitments. In addition to the variety of other expectations for learning and quality improvement activities overseen by the accredited continuing medical education (CME) system, it is the guarantee to learners that educational material is based on science and best practice and is free from promotion and marketing that most separates accredited education from myriad other materials that try to influence physicians’ behavior.

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