Continuing Medical Education (CMEs) are evidence-based educational activities for medical providers which focus on continuing education to upkeep and improve their knowledge, skills, and abilities within their medical practice and specialty.
Earning your CME credits on time is not only important to maintaining your license to practice, it also serves to meet certification and/or state licensing requirements, helps you keep up with the latest technology, maintains your membership with prestigious professional organizations, and advances your career.
CME credits can be earned by attending live medical conferences, webinars, and utilizing free online programs. All of these different options can make it seem pretty easy to keep up with Continuing Medical Education requirements.
However, if you don’t keep up with your state‘s requirements and make sure to organize your credit hours in a way that makes it easy for you to fulfill them throughout the year, completing all of your CMEs can easily become an overwhelming, end-of-year task that you have to rush to check off your to-do list.
To help you avoid having unfulfilled CME requirements looming over your head by this time next year, we’ve compiled some handy tools and tips to help you get your Continuing Medical Education requirements organized!
Evaluate State Requirements
On top of the CME credits required by the American board for your specific specialty, every state medical board will also have different credit requirements. Tracking state CME requirements can also become more difficult with the more state licenses you have, which is a common problem for locum tenens physicians.
Luckily, Board Vital’s CME Coach tool helps healthcare professionals to find both their specialty and state board’s yearly CME requirements. All you have to do is enter your state and specialty, and the tool will tell you exactly how many credits, and what kind of credits you’ll need to complete!
For providers with multiple state licenses, it’s always helpful to take some time to sit down with a pen and paper, or even better, a spreadsheet, and look up the CME requirements for every state in which you hold a license. Be sure to track every type of credit, exam, and activity required for every state. By the time you’ve finished this exercise, you should have a good idea of the credits you’ll need to complete, which should be equal to the requirements of the state that mandates the highest amount of credits.
Find CME Opportunities
Similar to the activity you’ve done to calculate how many and what types of credits you’ll need to complete, you’ll want to find another time to sit down with a calendar and parse through available CME opportunities to decide which one’s you’ll complete, and when you aim to complete them.
Since nobody likes to spend money when they dont have to, start out by seeing how many credits you can complete with free CMEs. Some great resources to start out with are these lists of accredited CME courses that are available to medical professionals free of charge from CME List, AAFP, and My CME.
Once you’ve decided on which CME activities you plan to use to complete your required credits, plug them into your calendar, being sure to estimate how long it should take you to complete each one before you start the next.
Track and Report
Some providers choose to track and report their CME credits on their own, however, this can become a time-intensive process. Even with the use of technology, tracking factors such as credit hours, topic, etc. and then reporting them for each and every course can easily become extremely tedious.
The good news is that there are many available tools from various organizations that exist to aid healthcare professionals with this process. Our favorite is the American Medical Association’s (AMA) new and convenient tracking and reporting tool called AMA Ed Hub.
To make this tool even better, it’s basically a one-stop-shop for seamlessly completing, tracking, and reporting your CME credits. Choose from activities from notable organizations such as AMA STeps Forward and the JAMA Network, and allow your credit hours to automatically appear in your CME transcript!
Completing your CMEs shouldn’t feel overwhelming! By taking a little bit of time to organize your CMEs at the beginning of the coming year, you can easily save yourself loads of stress (and money too)!