ACCME Commendation Criteria Review: Optimizes Technical/Procedural Skills

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 third set of ACCME commendation criteria are focused on skills and skills-based learning. “Enhances Skills” contains four criteria, all of which may or may not be easily attainable depending on the organization in which you provide education.

Optimizes Technical Procedural Skills (formerly C30) states:

The provider designs CME to optimize technical and procedural skills of learners.

Technical and procedural skills are those hands-on skills that health care providers must have. The most obvious examples are the skills surgeons need, but all providers have some sort of hands-on component to their work. This could be the use of a device such as an ultrasound machine or even something as basic as a stethoscope. All components of the physical examination of a patient fall into this category of technical and procedural skills. Resuscitation and critical incident management requires technical and procedural skills. So at first glance, this criterion may seem difficult for your organization, but it is possible that you are already creating activities that are focused on technical and procedural skills.

There are three critical elements in this criterion.

  • You need to have some activities that are designed to address technical and/or procedural skills. The exact skills addressed are based on the needs of your learners
  • Those activities need to include evaluation of the learners’ technical and/or procedural skills. The facilitators need to observe the learners in action. This can be in person or over video, but it can’t be just a posttest or looking at the results of a hands-on procedure
  • The facilitators must use those evaluations to provide formative feedback. This has to be more than a pass or fail. There should be suggestions and the opportunity to try again, taking that feedback into account
To achieve this criterion, you must complete anywhere from two to eight activities, depending on the size of your program. There is no minimum percentage of activities that should be focused on technical or procedural skills, which does make the standard slightly simpler than some of the other criteria we’ve covered. You may already be providing life support courses or suture workshops. The question is what sort of observation and feedback your activities are providing. Is the feedback truly formative or is it merely summative? If your program is positioned to provide formative feedback, you are probably already holding activities that meet this requirement. And if your organization isn’t structured in a way that you can, that’s okay. This is a menu of criteria. You don’t have to meet every single one. But if you can figure out how to add even one course focused on technical or procedural skills, the providers you serve will benefit from that hands-on training.

Other Posts in This Series

CME Mission and Program Improvement

Educational Planning and Evaluation

Promotes Team-Based Education 

Addresses Public Health Priorities
Enhances Skills


ACCME (2020). Accreditation Criteria. Available at:

ACCME (2021). Optimizes Technical/Procedural Skills. Available at:

Image credit: Tama998. Licensed under CC0 1.0

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