5 Big Takeaways From the ACCME 2015 Annual Report

ACCMEFor anyone who follows developments in the continuing medical education (CME) space, July is a big month. Why? Because it’s when the ACCME releases its Annual Report on CME participation during the previous year.

The 2015 report, now available for download from the ACCME, included several notable insights about growth and changes in CME. From our perspective, here are five of the biggest takeaways:

1. Hospitals still provide the most CME activities.

Last year, ACCME-accredited hospitals offered a total of 45,302 CME activities. Non-profit associations came in a distant second at 28,402 activities.

Given the sheer number of activities provided by hospitals, it’s clear that live events and regularly scheduled series (RSS) remain a big part of medical professionals’ CME regimen. That’s one reason we started working more closely with hospitals over the past year: Many learners continue to prefer “live and in person” activities, but traditional back-end processes make CME management harder than it needs to be.

2. Physicians get CME from hospitals and associations in roughly equal numbers.

2015 saw 3.1 million physician interactions across all CME types at hospitals and non-profit associations. Schools of medicine reported about 3 million physician interactions.

The big differences lie in the activity types that learners seek from each type of provider. At hospitals, RSS activities were dominant. At associations, online enduring materials(, or OEMs), garnered the most participation.

3. Publishing companies lead in physician interactions.

ACCME-accredited publishers reported 4.1 million physician interactions, and OEMs made up the bulk of their learner participation.

In fact, the number of physicians participating in OEMs in 2015 exceeded the number participating in RSS activities by about 6,000 interactions – and that’s across all provider types.! More organizations appear to be embracing online CME and the technologies needed to deliver OEM content to learners.

4. RSS continues to maintain high participation numbers.

While OEMs were far and away the dominant activity type for all physician and other learner interactions in 2015, RSS remains big. 4.8 million physicians and 2.2 million other learners participated in RSS activities last year.

Aside from OEMs, participation in other activity types doesn’t even approach those numbers. Even non-RSS live event participation across all provider types doesn’t come close.

5. Registration fees account for a majority of CME income.

CME providers reported $1.3 billion in income from registration fees in 2015 – 53% of their total income from all sources.

Given providers’ dependence on registration fees and an increasingly web-based CME experience, it would seem that CME-centric eCommerce tools are more necessary than ever. Providers need learners to register for activities – and they need the payment process to be simple.

All in all, the 2015 Annual Report reveals many insights about CME participation, revenue, and changes throughout the past year. With the new PARS reporting system, this report is probably the ACCME’s most comprehensive effort in years.

Download the complete report to see for yourself.