Locum tenens physicians have long faced the challenge of getting their continuing medical education (CME) credits without a corporate employer subsidizing costs or offering nearby classes. Plus, due to COVID-19 many medical conferences — one of the primary ways physicians earn CME credits — have been cancelled or postponed. However, despite limited in-person options, there are still many online resources available. Here are nine ways to earn CMEs for locum tenens physicians.
1. The American College of Physicians (ACP)
The ACP offers free CME options to members in several formats, including live meetings, journal articles, podcasts, interactive modules, case studies, and videos. You can filter the options in the online learning center by specialty or topic and even select specific formats, like ACP Practice Advisor. ACP members also have discounted access to exam prep, scientific chapter meetings, and upcoming medical conferences.
2. CME List
Browse the hundreds of CME options on CME List to find exactly what you need. You can sort by profession, topic, and specialty, and you’ll also find a free CME section with specialty-specific resources. Not sure how many CME credits you need to earn? Their state CME requirements guide can help.
3. The North American Center for Continuing Medical Education (NACCME)
With more than 25 years of experience in continuing medical education, NACCME offers many regional and national meetings, live webinars, and on-demand webcasts for providers in 32 different specialties. Once you choose an option, you’ll see the estimated time to complete it, objectives, activity overview, and accreditation information.
4. The American Medical Association’s Ed Hub
The AMA offers members more than 2,000 online CME activities, including modules, podcasts, articles, and videos. You can access JAMA articles, a collection of education from the AMA Journal of Ethics, and a CPT series about billing for office and outpatient procedures. The AMA also automates reporting. Just sign into your Ed Hub account and they’ll transfer your earned CME credits to your state medical board or specialty board for you.
Medscape, a global medical news and education company, offers members free CME credits for physicians. Click the CME & Education tab at the top and search specialties for activities and simulations that interest you. Once you finish each activity, complete the quiz (you must earn a score of at least 75% to pass), and you’ll receive credit. Medscape’s personalized activity tracker helps you quickly see when you’ve completed credits and you can even print your CME transcript.
6. Contemporary Forums On Demand
Since attending a medical conference in-person isn’t an option this year, Contemporary Forums offers courses recorded live at various conferences. Choose from CME credits in eight different specialties. You can also buy a package with 10, 25, or 40 CE hours to save a bit of money and access the courses anytime.
7. Physicians Practice
The health media company Physicians Practice offers subscribers many free CME courses covering several topics, including EHR, law and malpractice, patient relations, health IT, medical billing and collections, coding, and audits. Like other sites, the courses are available for credit for up to one year.
8. Medical conference online alternatives
Though many associations aren’t hosting conferences in 2020, they often have online alternatives. For example, the MedTech Conference, now rescheduled for 2021, has a digital series about DVT and pulmonary embolism available. Another example is HLTH, which was held virtually in October, but you can still register for the conference and access all content. Check out the websites for your favorite conferences to learn what’s available.
9. Other ways to earn CME credits
It pays to be creative when looking for CMEs for locum tenens. You may be eligible for credits without even realizing it. The AMA awards 10 physician’s recognition award (PRA) credits per peer-reviewed article you publish in MEDLINE-indexed journals. You can also earn five PRA credits per poster presentation at an accredited conference. Going back to school has rewards, too: 25 PRA credits for a master’s or doctorate degree in a medical field. Check out more unconventional CME credit ideas in this AMA article.
In short, there are many different ways to get CME credits as a locum tenens doctor. Some credits are even more accessible online now than in the past due to COVID-19. While you don’t get the same networking opportunities available at medical conferences, you have more flexibility to complete the courses and earn the needed credits without ever leaving home.