The national accreditation system for CPD provider organizations in Canada is designed to enable continuous professional development of individual physicians and inter-professional health teams through periodic self-reflection and external peer review. Accredited CPD provider organizations include the University Offices of Continuing Medical Education (or equivalent) within each Faculty of Medicine, national specialty societies and other national or provincial physician organizations.
The national accreditation standards are based on a common set of values, principles and metrics that have been endorsed by the Committee on Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education (CACME), the CPD Accreditation Committee of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (Royal College) and the College des médecins du Quebec (CMQ).
The national accreditation standards are designed to promote collaboration and partnerships within and between disciplines, be responsive to the health needs of patients and communities, value physician learning across the range of competencies, and promote strategies to improve physician competence and performance; ultimately impacting the health of patients.
Although accredited CPD provider organizations vary in terms of context and roles, they are collectively committed to enhancing lifelong learning across the medical educational continuum through the provision of a broad range of educational initiatives, assessment strategies, and tools.
All accredited CPD Provider organizations are expected to be scholarly in how they integrate and apply new evidence about effectiveness of continuing professional development interventions, knowledge translation strategies or effective evaluation practices. Academic units within the Faculties of Medicine are expected to contribute to the advancement of the discipline of CPD through engagement in education research.
All CPD Provider organizations, regardless of their infrastructure or sources of support are required to ensure their activities are based on an assessment of needs, achieve an appropriate balance of high quality scientific evidence, evaluating achievement of outcomes across a range of competency domains, and identifying and managing external influence of competing (including commercial) interests.
Collectively the standards, criteria, survey questions, documentation requirements and the accreditation process are foundational to establishing a national CPD provider accreditation system that is transparent, accountable and responsive to the profession and the public it is privileged to serve.
DOMAIN 1: INSTITUTIONAL GOVERNANCE
STANDARD 1.1: ORGANIZATIONAL CPD MISSION
University offices of CME (or equivalent title) must have a formally approved strategic plan for their CPD Program that that considers societal needs and describes the:
- target audience(s);
- overall purpose; and
- measurable goals.
STANDARD 1.2: OPERATIONS
An accredited CPD provider organization has implemented an operational plan to support the achievement of the CPD program’s purpose and measurable goals or strategic plan including:
- a budget that allocates sufficient financial resources;
- adequate volunteer and paid staff resources supported by a training and support strategy; and
- adequate access to appropriate physical (for example office space etc.) and technical resources (for example databases, media resources etc.) for the development and/or implementation of CPD.
STANDARD 1.3: EDUCATIONAL INDEPENDENCE
An accredited CPD provider organization has implemented written policies and procedures based on the National Standard for Support of Accredited CPD Activities that addresses:
- how relationships with other organizations are managed to ensure independence of the planning process from commercial influence;
- the process(es) by which individuals who contribute to or develop the content for learning activities disclose all real or potential conflicts of interest; and
- the process(es) used to manage identified conflicts of interest.
STANDARD 1.4: PROFESSIONAL AND LEGAL STANDARDS
The accredited CPD provider organization has implemented policies and procedures to ensure its governance, operations, planning processes and records management comply with applicable professional and legal standards including the protection of privacy, confidentiality and copyright.
DOMAIN 2: EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM
STANDARD 2.1: ASSESSING NEEDS
An accredited CPD provider organization uses various methods to identify perceived and unperceived professional practice needs of members of its target audience(s) across the CanMEDS (or CanMEDS FM) Physician Competency Framework, to plan and select the format of educational initiatives.
STANDARD 2.2: DEVELOPMENT OF LEARNING OBJECTIVES
An accredited CPD provider organization develops learning objectives for each activity to address identified professional practice needs. The learning objectives for the overall activity and individual sessions (where applicable) are;
- written from the learner’s perspective;
- consistent with the chosen educational format; and
- provided prior to the activity for review by potential participants.
STANDARD 2.3: EDUCATIONAL CONTENT DEVELOPMENT AND DELIVERY
An accredited CPD provider organization has an effective process to support the development of content that is:
- distributed across the CanMEDS Physician Competency Framework;
- responsive to various practice needs; and
- informed by scientific evidence.
Methods used to deliver programming are evidence-based and aligned with the nature of the subject matter.
STANDARD 2.4: PROMOTING SELF-LEARNING
An accredited CPD provider organization has implemented strategies, services or tools to promote self-learning that encourages participants to (for example):
- Raise and answer questions stimulated by practice or from participation in group learning activities
- Identify areas for future learning based on assessments (including self-assessments) of knowledge, competence or performance
- Develop a continuing professional development plan
- Document practice outcomes from participation in learning activities
- Reflect on learning outcomes from participation in learning activities
- Participate in self-assessment
STANDARD 2.5: SCHOLARLY ACTIVITIES IN HEALTH EDUCATION
An accredited CPD provider organization approaches their work in a scholarly manner by using evidence of the effectiveness of educational interventions or new innovations to inform the design, development and implementation of their activities.
University offices of CME (or equivalent title) must participate independently or collaboratively in scholarship (sharing projects or innovations through presentations or publications) or original research in medical education, continuing professional development, or healthcare professional education.
DOMAIN 3: PROGRAM ORGANIZATION
STANDARD 3.1: EXTERNAL PROGRAM REVIEW
An accredited CPD provider organization has implemented written policies and procedures (including quality control measures) for reviewing individual educational activities developed by other organizations for CPD credits. Where applicable, the policies and procedures support consistent adherence to educational and ethical standards established by:
- the Conseil Québécois de Développement Professionnel Continu des Médecins (CQDPCM);
- the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC); and/or
- the Royal College.
DOMAIN 4: CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
STANDARD 4.1: ASSESSING EFFECTIVENESS
An accredited CPD provider organization has implemented a process, at least once every accreditation cycle, to:
- assess the degree to which the CPD Program’s purpose and measurable goals or strategic plan has been achieved; and
- identified opportunities and plans for improvement.
STANDARD 4.2: EVALUATION STRATEGIES
An accredited CPD provider organization has implemented an evaluation process for individual educational activities that uses various methods other than self-report to measure the degree to which the intended outcomes were achieved.
For example, the organization uses strategies to assess gains in knowledge, skills, attitudes, improved performance of physicians, or enhanced patient care outcomes.