Enduring materials in continuing medical education refer to a category of educational resources designed for on-demand learning. These materials are considered “enduring” because their value persists over an extended period of time. This is compared to another common type of CME activity, the live event or seminar, which imparts its value due to its real time, in-person setting. Among the most popular enduring materials formats is online CME, however, many types of enduring materials are available in digital form, allowing them to be completed anytime or anywhere for maximum credit.
Enduring material formats include digital materials, print, recorded presentations, online modules, or other formats with long shelf lives. They allow learners to access and engage with the educational content at their convenience, often including assessments to measure understanding or knowledge retention. Enduring materials provide healthcare professionals with a flexible way to access educational content outside live events or classroom settings using their CME allowance.
Enduring materials supplied by an American Council of Continuing Medical Education accredited CME provider for AMA PRA Category 1 or 2 Credit will transmit the following information to the learner prior to starting the CME activity:
- Principle learning objectives
- The content’s author and their medical credentials
- The issuing CME provider
- The media used to deliver the information
- How the practitioner can engage with the material
- The estimated duration of the activity (also the maximum amount of time practitioners can document when reporting a CME activity)
- When the materials were first published and the dates of any updates
- The date when material certification will expire
- Conflict of interest disclosures or the absence of any conflicts of interest
- Accreditation statements listed in the approved format
- Information about joint accreditation (when applicable)
- Information about CME for MOC (when applicable)
Types of Enduring Materials
This list includes some of the most common types of CME enduring materials with an in-depth description of each explaining their educational value and the medium on which they are usually accessed as well as the credits you can expect to earn with full participation in each:
Online Courses or Modules
Online CME encompasses a range of diverse, flexible, and virtually accessible learning formats accessible over the internet and completed independently. Online CME often contains interactive educational modules in which information is presented in text, video, or graphical formats. Modules are typically interactive and are accessible virtually anywhere with a supported electronic device such as a laptop or mobile phone. The advantages of online CME include convenience and flexibility, allowing healthcare professionals to complete courses at their own pace.
While there is no single structure present in online CME generally, courses often contain a pre-test to identify learning gaps, deliver primary course content, and then require a post-test for practitioners to demonstrate what they’ve earned. For online CME to be completed for Category 1 credit, the participant will often have to earn a passing grade as defined by the CME provider or content creator. Those who participate in online CME as a self-reported Category 2 activity may not need to complete a post-test for credit.
Recorded Webinars or Presentations
Video or audio recordings of live presentations, conferences, or seminars can be accessed and viewed later. Enduring materials such as recorded presentations differ from live activities in that they are accessed from anywhere and engaged with independently at the learner’s own pace. Recorded webinars often consist of live presentations that are captured on video recordings and then repurposed as enduring material.
Recorded webinars, if viewed for the first time as a recording, do not contribute to credits earned live—unlike live virtual webinars offered by AMS. Credit earned with live webinars can contribute to the portion of a practitioner’s credits that must be earned in a live CME activity. Live activities completed for Category 1 credit must be in-person, in real time, and in groups.
Sometimes called enduring monographs, enduring printed materials consist of medical textbooks, scientific and academic journals, and other text based content. Journal or article-based CME is a structured activity offered by an accredited CME provider to read one or more related articles in a peer reviewed medical professional journal. Not every text-based activity is structured the same but full participation requires reading the entire article and successfully completing a post-test quiz. When recording participation in journal based CME activities, the practitioner typically can claim up to an hour of engagement with the material.
Practitioners can also earn Category 1 credits with printed materials through journal article peer review. Practitioners must provide peer review of article manuscripts prior to their publication. Requests for CME credit are subject to deadlines, so if you are going to complete peer review for CME credit, don’t wait to document and claim that credit.
Generally, article reviews completed for Category 1 or 2 credit should demonstrate that the practitioner can:
- Complete specific objectives as stated by the CME provider granting access to the activity for CME credit.
- Incorporate their learning into their practice.
- Provide critical analysis of the medical literature by evaluating its purpose, methodology, and results as well as its real-world application.
- Offer actionable insight into the value of the manuscript as a published article supporting an active discussion of the article and its results in the style of traditional peer review.
Virtual patient scenarios or simulated medical procedures allow professionals to practice and learn in a controlled environment. Simulation training is a less common form of enduring material that is typically crafted by experts at large healthcare organizations working to prepare their employees for the challenges they see at their facility or to address a specific medical scenario. Medical simulations for CME credit can be live streamed or engaged with in person.
Point of Care CME
Point of care CME is completed within the appropriate clinical context via mobile application, whereby practitioners complete a series of prompts based on a predetermined clinical scenario. Point of care (POC) CME can be completed in a number of ways but generally, practitioners will log in to the mobile app prior to contact with a patient to enter anonymized data and record key events within the examination process. Then, based on the clinical scenario, the practitioner answers a series of open-ended prompts or short answer quizzes designed to assess learning and provide the basis for real world application. Those who participate in POC based activities can earn up to 5 credits per activity, per AMA rules. Some POC platforms allow practitioners to share their direct clinical experiences as well as their impressions of another’s clinical practice and provide feedback.