Skip to Main Content

Glossary of Terms & Abbreviations

AANS: The acronym AANS refers to both the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, a 501(c)(6) organization, and the American Association of Neurosurgeons, a 501(c)(3)

ACCME: Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education

ACCME-accredited Provider: An accredited provider is an institution or organization that has met the requirements for a CME provider as outlined by the ACCME. The AANS is the accredited provider for your AANS jointly provided activity.

CME Activity: An educational offering that is planned, implemented and evaluated in accordance with the ACCME Accreditation Criteria, Standards for Commercial Support and policies

Commercial Bias: A personal judgment in favor of a specific proprietary business interest of a commercial interest

Commercial Interest: A commercial interest is any entity producing, marketing, re-selling or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients. The ACCME does not consider providers of clinical service directly to patients to be commercial interests. A commercial interest is not eligible for ACCME accreditation.

Commercial Support: Financial, or in-kind, contributions given by a commercial interest that is used to pay all or part of the costs of a CME activity. The definition of roles and requirements when commercial support is received are outlined in the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support. Advertising and exhibit income is not considered commercial support.

Competence: Competence is a standardized requirement for an individual to properly perform a specific job. Competence is the ability to apply knowledge, skills or judgment in practice if called upon to do so.

Conflict of Interest (COI): When an individual's interests are aligned with those of a commercial interest the interests of the individual are in "conflict" with the interests of the public. The ACCME considers financial relationships to create actual conflicts of interest in CME when individuals have both a financial relationship with a commercial interest and the opportunity to affect the content of CME about the products or services of that commercial interest. The potential for maintaining or increasing the value of the financial relationship with the commercial interest creates an incentive to influence the content of the CME – an incentive to insert commercial bias.

Continuing Medical Education (CME): Continuing medical education consists of educational activities which serve to maintain, develop or increase the knowledge, skills and professional performance and relationships that a physician uses to provide services for patients, the public or the profession. The content of CME is that body of knowledge and skills generally recognized and accepted by the profession as within the basic medical sciences, the discipline of clinical medicine and the provision of health care to the public.

Credit: The "currency" assigned to CME activities. Requirements for the designation of credit are determined by the organization responsible for the credit system, e.g., AMA PRA (Category 1 and 2 Credit). Credit is based on 15 minute increments (.25 credits) of medical education.

Data Sources: Data sources indicate how an organization determines the professional practice gap. Examples of data sources: expert opinion; measures required by government; national guidelines; specialty guidelines; hospital QI information; research findings; previous activity evaluations; etc.

Educational Grants: Educational grants are used to support the educational components of a CME activity. It can be in the form of a monetary grant or an “in-kind” donation.

Exhibit: Exhibit income is not considered commercial support because the exhibitor is given something (booth space) in exchange for their payment. It is often used to help offset general costs related to an activity.

Financial Relationships: Financial relationships are those relationships in which the individual benefits by receiving a salary, royalty, intellectual property rights, consulting fee, honoraria, ownership interest (e.g., stocks, stock options or other ownership interest, excluding diversified mutual funds) or other financial benefit. Financial benefits are usually associated with roles such as employment, management position, independent contractor (including contracted research), consulting, speaking and teaching, membership on advisory committees or review panels, board membership and other activities from which remuneration is received or expected. ACCME considers relationships of the person involved in the CME activity to include financial relationships of a spouse or partner.

[Relevant] Financial Relationships: The ACCME defines "relevant financial relationships" as financial relationships in any amount occurring within the past 12 months that create a conflict of interest. ACCME focuses on financial relationships with commercial interests in the 12-month period proceeding the time that the individual is being asked to assume a role controlling content of the CME activity. ACCME has not set a minimal dollar amount for relationships to be significant. Inherent in any amount is the incentive to maintain or increase the value of the relationship.

"In-Kind" Commercial Support: "In-kind" refers to the loan or donation of equipment or supplies as well as services from a commercial interest. Letters of Agreement must be completed for in-kind support. Examples of in-kind support include equipment, supplies and facilities.

Joint Providership: Joint Providership is the providership of a CME activity by two institutions or organizations when only one of the institutions or organizations is accredited. The accredited provider must take responsibility for a CME activity when it is presented in cooperation with a non-accredited institution or organization and must use the appropriate accreditation statement. A commercial interest cannot take the role of non-accredited entity in a joint providership relationship.

Letter of Agreement (LOA) or Educational Grant: The terms, conditions and purposes of the commercial support must be documented in a written agreement between the commercial supporter and the CME provider. Both the commercial supporter and the CME provider must date and sign the written agreement prior to the activity. The agreement must include the CME provider, even if the support is given directly to the provider's jointly provided organization. The written agreement must specify the commercial interest that is the source of commercial support and the monetary amount or type of in-kind support.

Professional Practice Gap: The difference between actual and ideal performance and/or patient outcomes. When there is a difference between what the professional is doing or accomplishing compared to what is "achievable on the basis of current knowledge" there is a professional practice gap.

Scope of Practice: The range or breadth of a physician's actions, procedures and processes.

Standards for Commercial Support: The ACCME's standards to ensure independence in planning and implementing CME activities.

CME Accreditation and Joint Providership

Show Your Support for Neurosurgical Research and Education

Your contribution helps train and provide research opportunities for the next generation of neurosurgeons.

Support the NREF

Donate Here