New data support something medical education companies have
long contended: They are more compliant with requirements for commercial
support and less likely to be on probation than other provider types.
Findings released online by the Accreditation Council for
Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) offer providers the ability to see how
they stack up against their peer groups in several of ACCME's essential
“The biggest message is that, mostly speaking, the providers
are not distinguishable by compliance type,” said ACCME chief executive Murray Kopelow, MD.
Evidence of parity tells only part of the story, though.
Medical education and communication companies (MECCs) have
taken heat over such issues as their independence, most pointedly from a group
of academics who argued in the Journal of
the American Medical Association for their elimination from the CME
Yet finger-pointing should go in the opposite direction.
Just 1% of MECCs are on ACCME probation, compared with 3% of physician
societies and 2% of medical schools, stats show.
Moreover, societies and medical schools are more likely to
be out of compliance with disclosure (ACCME element 3.3 A) and management of
funds (3.3 D) than the publishing/education companies.
The three provider types compare evenly on 3.3 B and C,
control of content and separation of promotion from education, respectively
(see chart above).
Schools lead other provider types in percentage earning the
commendable status, at 23%.
MECCs view the information as a vindication of sorts.
“The data refute the charges put against us by those who
feel that MECCs do not have a legitimate role in the process,” said Kurt Boyce,
president of the NAAMECC.