Procedure to apply for Accreditation of CME Events

The following is a guide for the development of an education program that may be accredited for specialists (RCPSC MOC Section 1), with or without family physician accreditation (MainPro M-1).

The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) grant the privilege to the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine’s Office of Continuing Professional Development (OCPD) to provide accreditation. Events being presented in multiple provinces also require a national planning committee (as stipulated in the CFPC MainPro Guide). 

In Order to Fulfill Accreditation Standards:

  • If you would like to use OCPD conference management services, communicate with them at least 10 months in advance to discuss timelines for your program.
  • Organizers should develop and submit an accreditation application to OCPD at least two months prior to the date of the event, unless exempted through consultation with the OCPD. Allow enough time to receive notification of approval so the accreditation statement can be included on your printed program. You cannot state “accreditation, pending approval” on your program and you cannot print the accreditation statement on your program until you are approved.
  • The accreditation application forms are available on the uOttawa Faculty of Medicine OCPD website, as well as samples of the required forms to accompany the application i.e. budget, program/agenda, registration form, evaluations and the ethical disclosure form.
  • Organizers should understand the roles and responsibilities of the Chairs and members of the program committees. The Chair, through signature of the accreditation application, will demonstrate willingness to adhere to the program development process required for accreditation. Documentation needs to be kept on file for a period of five years in the event an attendee is audited by the College and needs to provide proof of attendance.
  • For family physician MainPro credits, one member of the planning committee who is a member of the CFPC will agree to represent the CFPC perspective and will sign the Statement of Involvement in Program Planning form.
  • The accreditation application fee schedule is available on the website. These fees cover the cost of Section 1 application review and are non-refundable. Applications will not be accepted retroactively. A late submission fee is applicable to any application submitted less than four weeks prior to the start date of the event. The fee is increased if Mainpro M-1 (CFPC) credits are requested in addition to MOC credits  

Overview of Program Planning Process: 

The program planning committee members must be representative of your target audience. 

Identify the target audience and the gaps (important issues that require more knowledge, better process, different approaches). This is a key part of the accreditation process.

Sources of info could be:

  • A needs assessment survey or questionnaire
  • Focus groups
  • Results of evaluations from previous meetings
  • Chart audits
  • Direct observation of practice performance
  • Experience from referrals
  • Quality assurance data from hospitals, regions, department heads, etc.
  • Emerging trends or special circumstances
  • Topics less likely to be requested by physicians themselves
  • Provincial databases
  • Guidelines and other published literature 

Identify the subject area for content and write appropriate learning objectives:

  • The uOttawa Faculty of Medicine OCPD has suggested conference planning committees provide learning objectives to speakers to ensure the program fulfills the needs of attendees. Providing these objectives to the speakers will help communicate what you would like them to address in their plenary/workshop.
  • Objectives must be written from the participants’ perspective and state what the learner will be able to do as a result of attending. The objectives should reflect identified learning needs for the topic. “Developing Smart Learning Objectives” will assist you in writing your objectives, using active, measurable verbs such as list, identify, discuss, apply, etc.
  • Objectives must be available to participants prior to (in the printed program) or during registration for the program. Objectives are an important part of the evaluation tool.

At least 25% of the session should provide opportunities for interactivity.

  • If the material is controversial, a debate format with opportunities for breakout discussion groups may be more effective than a lecture format. If the material is intended to develop new skills, participants will need to have an opportunity to try out the new skill and receive feedback.
  • Case studies in small groups - discuss related cases to illustrate objectives.
  • Think, Pair, Share - provide opportunities to reflect and discuss with a nearby colleague.
  • Q & A - Allow enough time for participants to ask questions of presenters.
  • i-clickers - Poll the audience for immediate feedback on a question generated from the presentation content.
  • Use role playing - Skills simulation to reinforce presentation content.
  • Divide larger audiences into small groups and provide questions/points for discussion; points brought up can be shared with the larger group.  

Ensure deadlines for responses from invited faculty are clear and enforced. Finalizing titles and objectives is often a challenge as the program brochure is in the final stages of development. Request handout informationtwo weeks before the presentation date to allow enough time for copies to be made (i.e. paper copies, CD or document repository). 

Suggestions for handout information include:

  • Your name and title of your presentation on first page
  • The conflict disclosure information slide
  • A one-page “key points” or “take-home message”
  • A list of suggested reading references is greatly appreciated by registrants
  • Leave space for writing on the handout itself
  • Total number of slides - no more than one per minute
  • Total number of lines on your slides should not exceed eight 

Evaluations

  • There should be a method for evaluating both individual sessions as well as the overall program.
  • The evaluation form for individual sessions should include a question related to the learning objectives, i.e. Were the stated learning objectives met?
  • The evaluation must include a question on content, presenter and industry bias.
  • The evaluation should include a question regarding sufficient time for interaction.
  • A summary of the evaluation results should be provided to the planning committee members. Feedback should be provided to each individual faculty member regarding their session. 

Ethical Issues

The events must adhere to the CMA guidelines governing the relationship between

physicians and the pharmaceutical industry. Please note that these guidelines will have been met if the uOttawa Faculty of Medicine CME Commercial Support Guidelines (http://www.med.uottawa.ca/cme/assets/documents/FoM_Industry_Relations_Policy_EN.pdf) of CPD activities have been met. Please note: 

  • Any financial support from the industry must be provided in the form of an educational grant, payable to and administered by the physician or organization developing the program.
  • Ensure all potential conflicts of interest related to educational activity are revealed to participants prior to the presentation. Disclosure must be done verbally, displayed in writing on a slide at the beginning of a presentation or included in the written conference materials. Faculty and planning committee members are required to complete disclosure of conflict of interest forms. The intent is not to prohibit speakers from presenting, but rather to inform the audience of any possible bias that speakers may have.
  • Ensure there is no specific product branding. Branding includes the use of markers, colours and shapes that are so recognizable that no text is necessary to identify the product.
  • Generic names should be used rather than trade names on all presentations and written materials. Off-label use of drugs or devices must be clearly stated to the audience.
  • The event must not tag the industry to a specific course within the overall conference.
  • All organizations providing education grants must be acknowledged as supporting the entire event. As an example, a summary page can be created recognizing the contributions of all sponsors.
  • In general, industry representatives should not participate in education events for physicians. However, under circumstances where the program committee believes it is important for industry members to attend, they may do so provided they sign a form indicating their non-participation in discussions/interactions that might be seen as biasing the event.

Documentation for Credit Validation

Written confirmation should be provided to each attendee from the Chair of the planning committee specifying the number of hours attended. 

RCPSC Self-Approval Process

For rounds, journal clubs or other hospital-based educational events or for small group learning activities, complete the self-approval form, return it to the Royal College (fax: 613-730-2410) and retain a copy on file for reference. Should any of the recorded information change, update the information and re-submit the form. Once the form is submitted to the RCPSC, your event is immediately approved for accreditation.  Small group learning sessions are a series of events that occur outside the hospital setting. The difference between the small group learning sessions and hospital-based rounds for the self-approval process depends on the planning committee of the events. If the planning committee is accountable to a department head, chief or a similar position, it would be considered rounds. If the planning committee is comprised of the people who will be attending the events and they are accountable just to the group itself, this would be a small group learning session. 

If the workshops/sessions are a series of regularly occurring events (occurring at least quarterly) they can go through the self-approval process. The topics can touch on medical or on the other CanMEDS roles of manager, health advocate, scholar, communicator, professional and collaborator. 

Planning Committee

The membership of the planning committee must be representative of the target audience. The planning committee will plan and implement educational events based on the perceived and unperceived needs of the target audience. The planning committee maintains records of attendance and provides confirmation of attendance to participants. The letters confirming attendance require the insertion of the Royal College’s accreditation statement:  The [rounds or journal club name] is a self-approved group learning activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.       

Educational Content of Self-Approved Events:

  • The series of regularly occurring events (at least quarterly) should be planned and advertised in advance. The Royal College’s accreditation statement must be placed on the promotional material.
  • Learning objectives for rounds, journal clubs and other continuing professional development events should be circulated to the target audience in advance where appropriate.
  • A variety of learning formats should be used to support the identified learning objectives.
  • At least 25% of the time for each event should be allocated for interactive learning.
  • Participants will be provided with an opportunity to evaluate individual events and the overall series of events (see sample evaluation forms used for MOC Section 1). 

Ethical Guidelines

The events must adhere to the CMA guidelines governing the relationship between physicians and the pharmaceutical industry. The events must also adhere to the uOttawa Faculty of Medicine’s policy “Policy on Continuing Medical Education and Industry”.

Documentation for Credit Validation

Written confirmation should be provided on a yearly basis from the chair of the planning committee specifying:

  • The number of hours you attended rounds, journal clubs or small group activities, and
  • The rounds, journal club or small group activity meets the established standards.
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