Continuing medical education: AMEE Education Guide No 35

Med Teach. 2008;30(7):652-66. doi: 10.1080/01421590802108323.


This guide is designed to provide a foundation for developing effective continuing medical education (CME) for practicing physicians. For the purposes of this work, continuing medical education is defined as any activity which serves 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 (American Medical Association 2007; Accreditation Council for CME 2007). The term continuing professional development (CPD) is broader and has become more popular in many areas of the world. As defined by Stanton and Grant, CPD includes educational methods beyond the didactic, embodies concepts of self-directed learning and personal development and considers organizational and systemic factors (Stanton & Grant 1997). In fact, this guide describes many modalities that may be defined as CME or CPD. In the interest of simplicity, we will use the term continuing medical education (CME) throughout, with the understanding that the same strategies may be applied to non-clinical continuing professional education. For those who do not work exclusively in CME, many terms and processes may be unfamiliar. This guide is intended to provide a broad overview of the discipline of CME as well as a pragmatic approach to the practice of CME. The format provides an overview of CME including history and rationale for the discipline, followed by a practical approach to developing CME activities, the management of the overall CME programme and finally, future trends. At the end of the guide you will find resources including readings, websites and professional associations to assist in the development and management of CME programmes.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Accreditation
  • American Medical Association
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Directories as Topic
  • Education, Medical, Continuing* / history
  • Education, Medical, Continuing* / methods
  • Education, Medical, Continuing* / organization & administration
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Learning
  • Physicians*
  • United States