Physicians and other medical and healthcare personnel spend years in medical school and training. Medical professionals rely on accredited continuing medical education (CME) programs as one of the support systems that helps them continue improving their practice, skills, and care for patients for the rest of their career. The fields of medicine and science never stop moving forward and physicians and other medical professions must do the same. Whether they work in clinical care, research, health care administration, or other areas of medicine, accredited CME courses are tailored to their needs as well as their patients’ needs. Accredited CME courses address every medical specialty, covering the full range of topics important to health care improvement.
Every year, accredited providers offer thousands of CME programs across the country. These activities include chances for interaction among physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, increasing opportunities for improvement and knowledge sharing. As stated on the Stanford medical homepage, “Continuing Medical Education improves patient care by providing healthcare professionals with evidence-based training on advances in medicine, new medical technology and biomedical research.”(source: https://med.stanford.edu/cme.html)
Accredited CME courses are offered through a wide range of formats and structures. Much more than traditional class lectures, CME encompasses one-on-one training, performance-improvement projects, and patient safety initiatives through online simulation, traditional teaching, virtual events, and team-based learning. Some providers even offer cruises for healthcare (and other) professionals that want to enjoy a family vacation at the same time.
Health care professionals can use accredited CME to meet requirements for licensure, certification, credentialing, membership in professional societies, and other professional privileges in addition to the dedicated improvement of patient care.
Below is a countdown of the top 10 CME websites that feature unbiased and accredited courses on a broad range of topics designed to easily help medical professionals continue their education:
Re-approved by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through March of 2021, Medical Education Resources (MER) is placed among the distinguished group of CME providers committed to excellence in medical education. As a non-profit medical education company, MER provides a wide range of fully-accredited CME programs to physicians, nurses, and pharmaceutical professionals.
MER sponsors conferences on numerous medical topics ranging from dermatology and primary care to internal medicine and neurology, and hold over three-hundred annual CME programs on both national and international levels. Membership is free. MER offers various program accreditations targeted to office-based health professionals: 3-day conferences offered for 11 credits, 4-day conferences for 14 credits, and 5-day conferences for a total of 17 credits.
The American College of Physicians (ACP) is a national organization of internal medicine that applies scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis and treatment, and helps to teach physicians better bedside manner and compassion for patients. ACP is the largest medical-specialty organization and second-largest physician group in the United States.
Physicians, residents, fellows, and medical students can join ACP by paying an annual membership fee. Upon membership, ACP offers many free and member-discounted CME options for AMA credit completion. Accredited CME courses are offered through attendance of live seminars and online workshops via computer and mobile device. As an added benefit of ACP membership, physicians and medical students can view and print a transcript of their participation in continuing medical education activities for the past six years.
The American College for Physicians offers a free download off iTunes called The Annals of Internal Medicine. Although the app doesn’t allow actual CME courses to be completed on mobile devices, it does give users the ability to read current Annals issues and the specialty topic collections, watch videos, listen to audio on recent literature, and view CME quizzes with each issue.
Medscape is a part of the WebMD Health Professional Network that offers health professionals the most current and cohesive medical information and educational tools. Medscape offers credit to physicians, registered nurses, and pharmacists in over thirty specialties.
Under the guidance of WebMD and a medical professional advisory board, Medscape is organized by medical specialty. By setting up a free membership, users gain access to a personalized specialty site that highlights what’s new in that specialty.
Unlike most of the other sites on this list, Medscape offers three free iTunes apps for apple products:
The first available app is Medscape’s general app. This application allows users to visually identify drugs with the pill identifier tool, look up references medications, and look up how-to patient care information with the disease and condition reference tool.
The second app available for download is the Medscape CME and Education application that help medical professionals stay up to date with the current information related to their field and allows users to complete some course requirements right from their electronic device.
The third app is MedPulse News. MedPulse News allows users to follow in-depth coverage on medical news and trends, clinical guidelines, and trials all through a personalized homescreen experience.
Formerly American Health Consultants, AHC Media offers continuing medical education courses to healthcare professionals primarily in clinical medicine, health care, and hospital management and emergency medicine.
By providing current and unbiased content to physicians, nurses, and hospital administrators, AHC Media is an accredited provider offering CME across multiple clinical and healthcare-related specialties. The website provides online continuing education courses that enhance the competence and performance of healthcare professionals by providing them with the most up-to-date information regarding clinical practice, scientific research, and healthcare management.
In addition to offering their online webinar series, AHC Media offers participants books and study material to not only enhance their learning, but pass the course. FreeCME.com is a division of AHC Media and offers free member registration and no-cost monthly education-based continuing education activities to members.
MyCME is the online hub for digital CME and CE courses developed by Haymarket Medical Education. Haymarket Medical Education is a division of Haymarket Media Inc., and offers a range of certified CME and CE programs through ACCME-accredited providers, for health professionals of all specialties. MyCME.com makes it easy for participants to find their specific specialty courses with search capabilities organized by Disease, Specialty, and Profession. MyCME.com also offers a Physician Assistant’s (PA) hub that offers PAs free continuing medical education courses, Physician Assistant National Re/Certifying Examination (PANCE/PANRE) reviews and question banks, and offers weekly headline news reporting on current trends in the healthcare community. Like Medscape, myCME offers a free iTunes app that allows users to personalize their course searches based on their medical profession and specialty. MyCME’s app also allows participants to work on and purchase courses, as well as claim credit upon activity completion straight from their mobile device.
MomMD is an online magazine, community, and association for women in medicine. Providing unique resources and information, MomMD offers a variety of courses across the spectrum of specialties. MomMD helps to balance professional, education and personal resources among females in the medical field. In addition to individual courses, MomMD offers board review courses which offer more credit points than individual courses due to the larger course load of information.
MomMD offers in Continuing Medical Education and Board Reviews are catered towards physicians, physicians working as locum tenens (“substitutes”), dental professionals, and over 50 other medical specialties. Special Offers, Free CME and discounts are regularly posted on MomMD’s website and provide users with access to a variety of video, audio, and online courses to choose from.
The Stanford University School of Medicine CME program promotes continuous improvement in healthcare services by providing physicians and medical professionals with educational courses focusing on the advancement of medicine, medical technology, research, and changes in the patient-care environment.
Stanford's CME program includes a broad range of specialty-focused primary care topics with relevant content chosen for the target audience's broad spectrum of professional practice and serve in the best interests of the public.
The Associate Dean for Postgraduate Medical Education describes the Stanford University School of Medicine Center for Continuing Medical Education program’s goal as to enhance the ability of practicing physicians to deliver high quality, cost-effective care using three fundamental elements: content emphasizing evidenced-based best medical practice; curricula focusing on emerging innovations; and online courses, conferences, and workshops designed to help healthcare professionals engage in interactive learning sessions—both in a patient-care setting and research laboratory.
Harvard Medical School’s Department of Continuing Education is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians of all specialties.
Live CME courses, conferences, and workshops take place year-round and throughout the Boston area. HMS’s long-standing commitment to offering quality continuing medical education for the healthcare field and improving patient care pushes their continuing education programs to provide the most up-to-date information and strategies to enhance the physician’s skills.
Harvard Medical School’s CME Online is the school’s largest learning initiative and is available to professionals across the nation. The online courses are comprised of specialty-based, interactive activities that learners can access on demand and at their convenience. Other computer-based programs offered by Harvard Medical School include webcasts, DVDs, and virtual events. Virtual events enable leading experts and master clinicians to become virtual visitors to the homes and offices of the healthcare professionals enrolled in the course.
The American Medical Association (AMA) is a well-known organization accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. Building on its legacy of establishing leading physician ethics, setting standards for medical education, and advancing medical science to serve as the premiere voice for the core values of the medical profession, the AMA invests rich resources in improving the doctor-patient relationship.
The AMA provides an Education Center section of their website to help medical practitioners expand their expertise with free (for AMA members) continuous education and development searches among various categories from the JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) Network.
The AMA also provides multiple information and guidance resources about the AMA CME credit system as well as a 2004 approved Performance improvement (PI) Continuing Medical Education. A Performance Improvement CME activity is an enhanced process by which evidence-based performance measures and quality improvement interventions are used to help physicians identify patient care areas for improvement and change their performance.
The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education is a nonprofit corporation responsible for accrediting institutions that offer CME training to healthcare professionals across the medical field. ACCME's mission is the development and improvement of standards for CMEs utilized by healthcare professionals in their pursuance of new knowledge to improve quality medical care for patients and their communities.
There are over 1,500 CME providers within ACCME’s system. Each provider listing includes the provider’s contact information, accreditor, accreditation status, and information about the provider's activities and learners. ACCME offers an interactive map that allows site users to find CME providers locally or across the country. After clicking a desired region, advanced search options allow course seekers to narrow results by organization, city, zip code, and specific accreditor (state or ACCME accredited).
The need for lifelong learning in the medical and healthcare field is an essential aspect of competent professional practice and patient care. The knowledge required for medical practice has continued to grow exponentially in recent decades, from advances in science and technology to reform in healthcare delivery, all of which have expanded expectations of physician, nurse, first responders, and all other medical professionals.