The number of physicians and non-physicians participating in continuing medical education (CME) has increased, especially in online activities, according to a report published by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME).

Researchers from the ACCME reviewed state and national data to provide information about the CME accreditation system, including trends in CME revenue and expenses, the number of educational activities, and participation in activities from 2005 through 2012.

Almost 2,000 accredited CME providers offered more than 130,000 educational activities, comprising nearly one million hours of instruction in 2012. More than 24 million physicians and other health care professionals were educated. Although there has been a decrease in the number of CME providers, a steady increase has been seen in the number of physician and non-physician participants in overall CME activities. Participation in online CME has increased, as well as activity types such as Internet searching and learning. In 2012, 58 percent of the total income for CME providers came from income from sources other than commercial support, advertising, and exhibits. Eighty-two percent of CME activities produced by ACCME-accredited providers did not receive commercial support. These activities accounted for 81 and 78 percent of physician and non-physician participants, respectively. Commercial support was received by 18 percent of CME activities.

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“Although the number of CME providers has declined, this has not necessarily represented a reduction in physicians’ and other health care professionals’ access to accredited CME within the ACCME system,” according to the report.