Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics

: 2013  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 164--165

Continued medical education credit hours: Are they being awarded too liberally?

Anupama Sukhlecha 
 Department of Pharmacology, M. P. Shah Medical College, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India

Correspondence Address:
Anupama Sukhlecha
Department of Pharmacology, M. P. Shah Medical College, Jamnagar - 361 008, Gujarat

How to cite this article:
Sukhlecha A. Continued medical education credit hours: Are they being awarded too liberally?.J Pharmacol Pharmacother 2013;4:164-165

How to cite this URL:
Sukhlecha A. Continued medical education credit hours: Are they being awarded too liberally?. J Pharmacol Pharmacother [serial online] 2013 [cited 2021 Oct 21 ];4:164-165
Available from:

Full Text

In a recent move, the Medical Council of India has begun awarding of credit hours for continued medical education (CME). A minimum of 150 credit hours is needed to renew medical registration. This has led to most state medical councils coming up with their guidelines for credit hours. [1],[2],[3] While the concept of credit hours has been in United States of America for over 30 years, it has recently been introduced in our country. However, it has not been warmly welcomed from the very outset. [4]

In the earlier days, recognition of scientific work done was limited to writing in curriculum vitae or just for name and fame. There was no scoring done to get license renewals.

Now, awarding credit hours will have the advantages like:

The CME meets would be accredited by medical council which means the doctors would be getting points for the meets they attendThe whole event would be monitored by an observer from medical councilQuantification or scoring of scientific work done by doctors would be possibleResearchers would be getting points for presentations and publicationsTeaching would be given creditOrganizers and resource persons of scientific meets would be given creditsSubscription to journals published by medical societies would be given creditIt will foster a scientific culture.

The flip side is that:

Rules have come in without any proper system in placeMost doctors object saying that there is no mandatory CME for lawyers and engineers [4]When all information is available at the click of a button on the internet, busy practitioners feel that it is a waste of time and money to attend conferences [4] Some doctors believe that nothing extra would be learnt sitting in a dark room with slide presentations [4]No credit given to interaction or active involvement in scientific meetsAll publications get equal credits irrespective of the impact factor of journalsAll teachers get equal credit points irrespective of the quality and quantity of classes taken

What can be done?

Credit points are being distributed like prasad (temple offerings). Just to gain credit hours, doctors are attending different specialty CME meets. [5] Our body cannot be compartmentalized to subjects, so, any doctor can attend CME on any specialty and get credit hours. However, weightage should be given to credit points awarded in his/her specialty. Similarly, credit points should preferably be given to those who subscribe to journals and are members of associations of their specialty.

Workshops (of about 30 participants) should be given more credit points than conferences. Level of interaction and active participation of doctors can be scored in these workshops and extra credit points can be given to active participants.

International and national internet journals have mushroomed up everywhere. Most of these journals are run on 'author pays' model and do not hesitate to accept articles of poor quality. Credit points can be given to these articles. However, if an article is published in journals of high impact factor, extra credit points should be awarded.

Doctors/faculty/post-graduate students who win prizes at conferences in oral or poster presentation should be awarded credit points. More credit points can be given to prizes won in international conferences followed by national and then state level conferences.

Once the CME credit hours system comes into place and is well-accepted by medical fraternity, there can be assessment of doctors in their specialty every 5 to 10 years (in addition to 150 credit hours) for renewal of registration. More weightage should be given to skills and attitudes gained and less for mere theoretical knowledge in these exams.

For medical teachers, if teaching is well-appreciated through student feedback or assessment of teachers, extra credit points can be given.


Doctors are life-long learners. Hence, if CME programmes have credit hours, this would foster a culture amongst doctors to get updated with latest developments in their specialty. This would indirectly improve health-care in our country. However, awarding of credit hours should not be too liberal; otherwise, the basic purpose of CME accreditation would be defeated.


1Gujarat Medical Council. Continuing medical education in modern medicine in the state of Gujarat. 2012. Available from: (Last updated 2013 Jan 12).
2Center for CME accreditation, The Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University. 2010. Available from: [Last updated 2013 Jan 12].
3Express news service. To renew registration, doctors will have to earn 12 credit pts by March. Indian Express, Pune 2012 Jan 10. Available from: earn-12-credit-pts-by-march/897975/2. (Last updated 2013 Jan 12).
4Sohoni C. Continuing medical education (CME): Why the fuss? Indian J Radiol Imaging 2011;21:158-9.
5Pal S. Mumbai doctors desperate to get credit points. Daily news and analysis, Mumbai 2012 Feb 18. Available from: (Last updated 2013 Jan 12).