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ACCME Annual Report Summary

July 14, 2010

ACCME Annual Report Summary

Today we are going to talk about the recent annual report on providers of continuing medical education. While most CME providers are focusing on the downtrend, the ACCME Annual Report has some encouraging takeaways. In the second week of July the ACCME released its 2009 Annual Survey Report Data and typically this is a really helpful report that includes information on the number of providers in each category for CME, the number of activities and attendees, as well as the amount of commercial support and other funding dollars for CME programs. For this year’s report, most people are focusing in on the funding issues again as there has been a decline in funding, but that was both projected and expected for 2009 data. That was only part of the story, as there are a couple of other additional takeaways that are relevant and come out from this report.

ACCME Annual Report Takeaways

First of all, funding between 2008 and 2009 decreased about 17.7%. From a high of about $1.2 billion in commercial funding for CME in 2007, it then declined 29% over the last couple of years to settle in around $856 million in 2009. The bad news is that’s the lowest amount of commercial funding since 2002. Again, that is only part of the story as there is some good news, especially for funders of CME and developers of CME. The competitive CME world has decreased the number of providers out there and as a result it is making certified education much more cost effective. Consider this data between 2007 and 2008: there was a 30% decrease in the cost per physician attendee at a CME Activity. In 2008 and 2009, there was an additional 18.5% decrease in the cost per each physician attendee. Lastly, among the four main CME providers (schools of medicine, physician membership organizations, hospitals and publishing/education companies) all of these organizations reduced costs to develop CME. The average cost per attendee ranged from a low of about $111 per attendee for publishing and education companies to a high of about $251 per attendee for a physician membership organization. The overall picture is that CME is very cost effective and it’s still reaching a large number of physicians each year. That’s good news; not only for the physician attendees and the learners that are involved in CME, but also for patients and patient health. If you would like a copy of the Global Education Group Analysis of the 2009 ACCME Survey Data, feel free to contact us here