In today’s technology-rich society, medical science – like all other sciences – is proceeding by leaps and bounds. Practicing doctors are able to publish articles concerning advances to their own practices in treating patients or dealing with paperwork. Studies are proceeding on all major diseases as well as on basic human health questions. Additionally, the technology of medicine changes on a nearly daily basis. New tools and the procedures that are affected by them are a study in itself.
For these reasons, even the most experienced physician needs to continue his or her medical education. Fortunately, the medical technology advances include online continuing medical education with full accreditation and oversight.
The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education grants accreditation to organizations that offer continuing medical education classes. In doing so, they set standards for course content, organizational management and continual assessment of its training’s efficacy. Their oversight is as stringent for online training as it is for the more conventional classroom training.
In addition, there are requirements specific to Internet CME classes. Just as a medical school cannot be located at a pharmaceutical or device manufacturers’ building or on property owned by them, the activities of an online medical education website cannot be placed on the websites of those businesses. While a CME accredited website can include links to medical business websites, the links cannot be embedded in the educational content. In the same way, advertising is permitted on the educational site as long as it’s not part of the educational material or activities.
The accredited continuing medical education is required to let the learner know what hardware and software is needed at the start of the activity and provide a way for the learner to contact the provider in case there are questions about the content. Like most professional online sites, the CME accredited sites must have a privacy and confidentiality policy, follow it and make it known to the learner. Naturally, copyrights have to be documented. A list of accredited online courses can be found with links on the CME site.