PARS Efficiently Tracks and Reports Continuing Medical Education Data for the ACCME

Kate Regnier, Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education

The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) oversees nearly 1,900 accredited organizations across the country and internationally, which offer more than 148,000 continuing medical education activities each year, including more than 26 million interactions with physicians and other healthcare professionals. It’s safe to say the amount of data collected and disseminated by the organization is quite substantial. Years ago, much of that data was documented and then aggregated manually, in order to support the performance-in-practice reviews that are part of the accreditation process, as well as for development of the ACCME’s annual report.

It was time consuming and laborious.

In 2010, ACCME introduced a new web-based portal, leveraging MedBiquitous standards to streamline the process. ACCME’s Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS) delivered a new platform for the seamless collection and analysis of data from accredited organizations.

“PARS allows us to collect and report more detailed information from accredited providers,” said Kate Regnier, MA, MBA, Executive Vice President for ACCME. 

It is a comprehensive system for the submission of data from organizations focused on continuing medical education, and offers many benefits for the community of educators and learners in the form of transparency. The data is very concrete and demonstrates the real world use of our work.

As one example, PARS has been an instrumental tool for accredited organizations as they support the FDA Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) for Extended-Release and Long-Acting (ER/LA) Opioid Analgesics. The FDA has leveraged the accredited CME community to educate clinicians who prescribe opioid medications about how to assess patients, initiate and manage medications, modify dosing and make decisions about when to discontinue use of ER / LA opioid therapies. The MedBiquitous Medical Education Metrics standard has provided the common language for collecting this data.

As another example, PARS was modified to enable accredited organizations to submit activity and learner data about CME that counts for Maintenance of Certification (MOC). These modifications enable accredited organizations to help physicians meet their professional requirements. PARS uses the MedBiquitous Activity Report standard to communicate this data to certifying boards.

“Using PARS, accredited CME organizations can document and report data about the educational activities they have delivered and the learners they have reached,” said Regnier. “It’s a flexible, streamlined process that enables accredited organizations to use one system to submit data for the accreditation process, and to demonstrate their participation in the FDA REMS and Maintenance of Certification for several of the specialty certifying boards."

Since its inception, PARS has continued to evolve to meet the needs of ACCME stakeholders. Remaining MedBiquitous compliant is a key priority, as system upgrades and enhancements are made.

“The standards that MedBiquitous has implemented for continuing medical education guide us as we look at ways to continuously improve PARS,” said Regnier. “As a member of MedBiquitous, we gain an early understanding of how new standards will impact our system as well as our accredited organizations, as they are adopted. It benefits us greatly to be involved in working groups and other discussions that are shaping the future of continuing medical education.”