Providers test data-collection system

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Accredited med ed providers were allowed to try an online system, still in beta phase, for collecting data on their programs and activities last month. The system, which figures in the ACCME's plans for real-time monitoring, promises efficiencies over the PC-based spreadsheets now used.

The Program & Activity Reporting System (PARS) opened for an exhibition/education phase in April and was scheduled to complete its four-week run May 21. Providers have until March 31, 2011, to enter all of this year's activity data into the new system for calculating the ACCME 2010 Annual Report.

“I don't believe PARS is going to be a burden for UW; in fact, it will improve things,” said Elizabeth Mullikin, associate director of the Office of Continuing Professional Development in Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin. “It's forcing us to become more efficient with our own database.”

Areas where efficiencies may be possible include reporting data for the reaccreditation process and for ACCME annual reports. No longer will providers need to submit separate, aggregated data for the annual report. The ACCME will rely on the information collected in PARS for both.

Additional information—such as names of joint sponsors and commercial supporters, and the nature of in-kind support—is being collected through PARS. The expansion is part of ACCME's vision for real-time monitoring and auditing efforts. ACCME said this will not be part of the initial PARS deployment, though and all new information is optional.

“Before formally launching, the ACCME continues to work with providers to fine tune the system which will collect both required and optional  data,” said Allison Hughes, director of operations at Postgraduate Institute for Medicine. The impact to individuals providers is the need to develop a system to collect and report the information that will in the end meet ACCME requirement.

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