ACCME Commendation Criteria Review: Demonstrates Creativity/Innovation

Whether you are an accredited provider such as i3 Health or you are an educational partner working with an accredited provider, it’s still important to understand the criteria that underlie continuing medical education (CME) activities. This is part of a periodic series of posts looking at what each criterion means in general and what it might mean for you.

The final commendation criterion under the heading “Demonstrates Educational Leadership” is Supports Demonstrates Creativity/Innovation (formerly C35). This criterion states the following:

The provider demonstrates creativity and innovation in the evolution of its CME program.

We expect our learners to continually grow and change. As education providers, we should also adopt new and better practices than what we used before. Just as the practice of medicine should be evidence-based, the practice of continuing medical education should be evidence-based. But that evidence base has to come from somewhere. This criterion is focused on how CME programs can find creative and innovative ways to deliver education, assess our learners or our programs overall, and how we use technology. Before something can become part of an evidence-base, it has to be tried.

There are two critical elements in this criterion:

  • You need to implement an innovation that is new to your program.
  • You need to show that the innovation helps you meet your CME mission.

To achieve this criterion, you need to submit examples of four innovations you implemented over the course of your accreditation term. For most programs this works out to one innovation each year.

Innovation can take many forms. One organization I’ve worked with has a regularly scheduled series of cooking classes that help physicians learn how to apply the nutrition advice they give their patients. Another is revising how they handle long-term outcomes assessments to get a better picture of how well learners implement the changes they say they plan to make immediately after each activity ends. And none of us can forget the numerous was all CME programs have had to learn better ways to use technology in education over the past two years.

The difficulty of this criterion is that each innovation can only be counted once. It requires strategic planning. But if your program has organizational support for strategic planning, continual innovation can be achieved, and this criterion along with it.

Other Posts in This Series CME Mission and Program Improvement

Educational Planning and Evaluation

Promotes Team-based Education

Addresses Public Health Priorities

Enhances Skills

Demonstrates Educational Leadership


ACCME (2020). Accreditation Criteria. Available at:

ACCME (2022). Supports CPD for CME Team. Available at:

Image Credit: Rflor. Licensed under CC BY 4.0

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