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Evolving Alignment in International Continuing Professional Development Accreditation

McMahon, Graham T. MD, MMSc; Aboulsoud, Samar MD, MSc, MEd; Gordon, Jennifer MEd; McKenna, Mindi PhD, MBA; Meuser, James MD; Staz, Mark MA; Campbell, Craig M. MD, FRCPC

Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions: July 2016 - Volume 36 - Issue - p S22–S26
doi: 10.1097/CEH.0000000000000075

Abstract: Several of the world's accreditation systems for continuing professional development (CPD) are evolving to encourage continuous improvement in the competence and performance of health care providers and in the organizations in which they provide patient care. Clinicians learn best when they can to choose from a diverse array of activities and formats that are relevant and meet their needs. Since choice and diversity are key to meeting clinicians' needs, several CPD accreditors have been engaging in deliberate, concerted efforts to identify a core set of principles that can serve as the basis for determining substantive equivalency between CPD accreditation systems. Substantive equivalency is intended to support the mobility of learners, allowing them to access accredited learning activities that are recognized by various CPD accreditation systems in a manner that maximizes the value of those accreditation systems, while minimizing the burden of adhering to their requirements. In this article, we propose a set of core principles that all CPD accreditation systems must express as the basis for determining substantive equivalency between CPD accreditation systems. The article will illustrate how five CPD accreditation systems (two in the USA, two in Canada, and one in Qatar), differing in focus (activity-based versus provider-based), context, and culture, express these values and metrics, and concludes by identifying the value of substantive equivalency for learners, medical regulators, and CPD accreditation systems.

Dr. McMahon: President and Chief Executive Officer, Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, Chicago, IL. Dr. Aboulsoud: Chief Executive Officer, Qatar Council for Healthcare Practitioners, Doha, Qatar. Ms. Gordon: Assistant Director, Continuing Professional Development, The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Dr. McKenna: Director, Continuing Medical Education Division, American Academy of Family Physicians, Leawood, KS. Dr. Meuser: Executive Director, Professional Development and Practice Support Director General, College of Family Physicians of Canada, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Mr. Staz: Director, Continuing Professional Development at Federation of State Medical Boards, Euless, TX. Dr. Campbell: Director, Continuing Professional Development, Office of Specialty Education, The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Correspondence: Graham T. McMahon, MD, MMSc, Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, 515 N. State St., Suite 1801, Chicago, IL 60657; e-mail:

This article is based on an invited presentation titled “CPD Without Borders: Accreditation Around the World” delivered at the 2016 World Congress on Continuing Professional Development.

Disclosures: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

© 2016 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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