Kudos to the ACCME for taking the step of revising their policy for how “front matter” information (e.g. faculty info, software requirements, confidentiality policies, etc) is communicated to participants. As outlined in the latest ACCME Report, CME providers can now “choose from various electronic means, such as tabs, links, ‘click here’ buttons, or rollover text, to make this required information accessible” rather than forcing them to “pass through” the information before accessing the educational content of the activity. Granted, there is the following caveat:
Providers will continue to be required to transmit the information specified in Standard for Commercial Support 6: Disclosures Relevant to Potential Commercial Bias to the learner prior to the beginning of the CME activity. Learners must be made to pass through the information in order to engage in the CME activity. The use of tabs, links, or other electronic means that allow learners to go directly to the CME content and bypass the information are not acceptable methods for complying with Standard for Commercial Support 6.
But at least it’s a start. I’ve never liked the wall of text that greeted participants of internet CME and never understood the theory behind requiring all of it be front and center and making links no-no’s. I have no doubt that the percentage of participants that scrolled or clicked through this information as quickly as possible was/is staggeringly high. Just because the text is on the screen in front of them doesn’t mean they’re going to read it. All it did was make the learning experience – or rather, getting to the learning experience – more frustrating and annoying. It was silly.
This change in policy will allow CME providers to simplify and streamline the path to the actual educational content. That, I believe, is a good thing.