So far, more than 19,000 European urologists from 23 (inter)national urological societies have joined the EU-ACME programme. But despite figures, the total number of members who actively participate in the EU-ACME programme and collect CME/CPD credits totalled to 8,020 in 2010.Despite the fact that this figure (41% ) is higher than in 2009 further promoting the benefits of participating in the EU-ACME programme is still necessary.
During the meeting of the EU-ACME committee in June 2011 the possibility of the re-certification of the FEBU was discussed. The EU-ACME committee sent a proposal to the EBU wherein it was proposed that FEBUs should undergo a recertification process every five years. One of the criteria for evaluation could be the fulfilment of the EBU recommendation with regards to the collection of the CME/CPD credits, i.e. the collection of the required 250 CME credit points in five years (50 CME credits per year).
The underlying reason is it has been noted that the majority of the participants of the EU-ACME programme do not fulfil the recommendation of the EBU. From 1,862 FEBUs participating in the EU-ACME programme over the last five years, only 100 (5%) collected the required minimum of 250 CME credits. The EBU has discussed this issue during the EBU Board meeting which has taken place in Malta (in October this year - after this issue went to print).
Role of organisers The key to receiving CME credits is the accreditation of national and international meetings which can be done either on the national level following national regulations, or at the European level in compliance with the EBU/UEMS regulation – which is one hour equals one credit with a maximum of six credits per day and three credits for a half-day, a rule which most national authorities have already adopted.
However, the organisers of accredited meetings sometimes simply forget to inform the EU-ACME office about the event. Effective coordination and information are obviously prerequisites for the EU-ACME office to become active and for it to provide, for instance, on-site registration for the participants in order to secure smooth registration and administration of the gained credit points.
Of course, the EU-ACME office also recognises and is aware that it has to exert sustained efforts to make the EU-ACME programme even more visible to European urologists. The aim is that the participants of an accredited meeting themselves ask the organisers where to register and gain credits. Moreover, the EU-ACME office intends to further enhance its visibility on-site during these meetings.
A more central question is: what do organisers of meetings need to do for participants to receive credit points via the EU-ACME programme? Below are some essential conditions:
National meetingsNational authorities or special accreditation committees of scientific organisations are tasked with overseeing the accreditation of national meetings. The EU-ACME office does not interfere with the national accreditation process, as long as this is based on the EBU/UEMS rule (1 hour = 1 credit point). Moreover, the national urological societies affiliated with the EU-ACME programme have harmonised their CME systems with the EBU/UEMS system.
In order to register and process national credit points the following steps need to be followed: Organiser registers online through www.eu-acme.org the nationally accredited event and attaches the following: the detailed programme and a copy of an accreditation certificate by the national authority.
The EU-ACME office, in turn, offers assistance in providing logistical support for the obligatory attendance verification. After the meeting the organiser is obliged to return the scanners or the list with the participants to the EU-ACME office. The EU-ACME office then updates the accounts of the members participating in the EU-ACME programme in its database with the number of credits allocated to the meeting.
In cases where a country has no CME system at all and no accreditation institution/committee, the EU-ACME office can assist in obtaining the European accreditation for national CME events through the EBU Accreditation Committee.
International meetings The EU-ACME office can assist in obtaining the European accreditation for international CME events through the EBU Accreditation Committee following the EBU/UEMS regulations. Accreditation needs to be formalised at least two months before the educational activity is scheduled or held.
The organiser is expected to communicate clearly to participants that the event is accredited (web site, programme book, certificate of attendance) and how attendance is verified. Participants must also be properly informed where to show their EU-ACME membership cards in order to register for credits. The EU-ACME office offers logistical support for attendance verification. All participants have to do is present their EU-ACME membership card.
After the meeting the organiser returns the scanners or the list of participants to the EU-ACME office. The EU-ACME office updates the accounts of the members participating in the EU-ACME programme in its database with the number of credits allocated to the meeting.
Mutual CME recognitionThere is a mutual CME recognition between the American Medical Association (AMA) and the UEMS with regards to European CME credits and the AMA PRA Category 1 Credits.
The conversion of European CME credits to the American Medical Association Physician's Recognition Award (AMA PRA) Category 1 CME Credits will be applicable to all events being awarded by the European accreditation. The AMA has an agreement of mutual recognition of CME credits with the UEMS, and under the terms of this agreement, the AMA will convert CME credits certified by the EACCME live international event to AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.
Full version of the article and accompanying illustrations are published in the October-November issue of European Urology Today.