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Plan CME Activity

If you would like to develop a CME activity, or are interested in collaborating on CME initiatives, many materials and resources are available to assist you in this process.


The Yale School of Medicine’s Division of Continuing Medical Education (Yale CME) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. As such, the Yale CME office maintains the responsibility for assuring physicians that CME-certified activities meet accepted standards of education that help physicians increase competence and incorporate new knowledge to improve the quality of medical care for patients and their communities. Therefore, if you are preparing to develop a learning activity such as a conference or published materials, here are some important concepts and steps to keep in mind.

Who is the ACCME and what do they expect?

The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) identifies, develops and promotes standards for quality continuing medical education. The Essential Areas and Elements (including the Standards for Commercial Support) and Accreditation Policies are the practices that a provider, such as Yale CME, must implement to achieve and maintain accreditation. Thus, if you are seeking CME credit from Yale CME for learning initiatives, you must follow established policies and practices designed to ensure that these standards are met.

What does Yale CME require in the development process?

All CME activities must:

  • Be designed to change one or more of the following:
    • Competence
    • Performance
    • Patient Outcomes
  • Address professional practice gaps of physicians. The practice gap is defined as the difference between current and best practice.
  • Use needs assessment data to plan the activity.
  • Have content that:
    • matches the intended learners’ current or potential scope of practice;
    • is developed in the context of desirable physician attributes; and
    • is delivered using educational formats appropriate for the setting, objectives and desired results of the activity.
  • Be in compliance with the ACCME’s policies for disclosure and commercial support.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the learning intervention in meeting the objectives.

Planning Process

How does one go about planning a CME activity?

The CME planning process generally follows the classic Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) model for improvement, which can be depicted as follows (right).

The PDSA cycle is a simple yet powerful tool for accelerating improvement by developing a plan to test the change (Plan), carrying out the test (Do), observing and learning from the consequences (Study), and determining what modifications should be made to the test (Act).

Basically, you are asking the questions:

  • What are we trying to accomplish?
  • How will we know that a change is an improvement?
  • What changes can we make that will result in improvement?

If this is an annual event or a series of learning interventions, this model can be quite useful for measuring change, particularly in physician performance or patient outcomes.

For more information on PDSA in health care refer to:

What are the steps in the planning process?

The Yale CME Application is the primary starting point that will help to lay a foundation and guide development. To get started, establish a planning team based on the “question in practice” (area of focus or concern) you want to address. With that in mind, the application asks you to think through and complete these fields:

  • Identify practice gaps
  • Provide needs assessment data
  • Write objectives and expected results
  • Identify your target audience
  • Suggest an appropriate educational format(s)
  • List desirable physician attributes/core competencies that will be addressed
  • Identify potential or known barriers to learning
  • Examine patient safety concerns (if applicable)
  • Determine how the activity will be evaluated against the objectives
  • Identify pre/post test survey questions

Please allow ample time for the activity development process and notify the Yale CME office as far in advance as possible to begin the steps.

We encourage you to contact the CME office at for information and assistance.


CME does cost money and Yale Office of CME is not directly funded by our institution. As a result, we must charge for our services. We have two types of fees: accreditation fees and logistical fees. Some of our clients only want us to award credits for their activities; others, want us to award credit and assist with meeting logistics. To learn more about our accreditation fees for live courses and logistical services, RSS activities or Online Enduring Materials, please contact us at

Policies & Resources

What’s available to me for help and guidance?

If you would like to develop a CME activity, or are interested in collaborating on CME initiatives, many materials and resources are available to assist you in this process.


  • Policy on Commercial Support
  • Policy on Live Conferences
  • Policy on Joint Providerships
  • Policy on Regularly Scheduled Series (RSSs)
  • Yale CME Policy on Standards for Integrity Independence in ACE

Resources & Forms

Yale CME provides “how-tos,” for the development, implementation and evaluation of CME activities. To view, please visit our Help section on our CloudCME LMS Website.

The Yale CME Application is the initial form required to start planning a CME activity. It is designed to help facilitate analyses and guide the planning process. Other forms will be required depending on the type of activity, the educational format selected, and whether or not commercial support will be used. But all activities require the following:

  • Disclosure of Relevant Financial Relationships:For each presenter, author or educational partner who is in a position to control content.
  • Disclosure Summary or Slide: Disclosure information provided to learners prior to the start of the educational activity. Each presenter should have their disclosure information included at the beginning of his/her presentation.
  • Basic Program/Speaker Evaluation form: A standard evaluation questionnaire used to elicit basic information following an activity. This is the minimum required. Methods of evaluation are determined by the objectives and desired results.

Please contact Yale CME for more information.