PI CME: Frequently asked questions

Q: What is PI CME?
Performance Improvement CME (PI CME) is the Academy’s first online Performance Improvement (PI) activity. PI CME (formerly called CPAT) easily guides you through a PI activity using your own medical chart abstraction with de-identified data. The program allows you to reflect on data from your own clinical practice, develop and implement an improvement plan, assess the effect, and report practice changes.

Each module (acne, melanoma, and atopic dermatitis) was developed under the guidance of the QA/QI Task Force using the AAD guidelines. The content relates directly to evidence-based quality indicators and provides you with automated data reports. This allows you to move through the cycle in a user-friendly way. PI CME helps members improve their practice, earn CME, and fulfill Component 4 of Maintenance of Certification.

Q: What is a performance improvement activity?
The American Medical Association has defined Performance Improvement (PI) activities as structured, long-term processes by which a physician or group of physicians can learn about specific performance measures, retrospectively assess their practice, apply performance measures prospectively over a useful interval, and reevaluate their performance.

It is based on three stages.

Stage A: Learning from current practice performance assessment
Assess current practice using identified performance measures, either through chart reviews or some other appropriate mechanism. Participating physicians should be actively involved in data collection and analysis.

Stage B: Learning from the application of performance improvement to patient care
Implement an intervention based on the performance measures selected in Stage A using suitable tracking tools (e.g., flow sheets). Participating physicians should receive guidance on appropriate parameters for applying an intervention and assessing performance change, specific to the performance measure and the physician’s patient base (e.g., how many patients with a given condition, seen for how long, will produce a valid assessment?).

Stage C: Learning from evaluation of the performance improvement effort
Reevaluate and reflect on performance in practice (Stage B) by comparing to the assessment done in Stage A. Summarize any practice, process and/or outcome changes that resulted from conducting the PI activity.

Q: How does PI CME work?
PI CME is based on the AMA definition of a PI Activity and is based on four steps. Step 1 is to abstract data from de-identified patient charts. You will also complete a practice system survey. Next, you review and approve the automated data report. The data report is used to select measures you want to improve upon during Step 2.

In Step 2, you develop a performance improvement plan. You can do this easily by selecting from among a number of components suggested in the module. Once you have your plan, the system gives you six months to implement the plan in your practice.

Step 3 occurs once the six-month improvement phase is complete. You will receive a reminder telling you to once again to collect data by abstracting information from an additional set of de-identified charts. You will only pull data from charts that have been completed since the implementation of the PI plan. You also will update your practice system survey at this time. The module will provide you with results that are specific to your practice. You will have an opportunity to review the automated data report and reflect on your experience. The last step involves completing a quick online questionnaire about the effect of the project. You'll claim CME and submit your results. Both the CME credit and acknowledgment that you have complete a Component 4 MOC activity will automatically be posted to your transcript.

Q: Does PI CME count for MOC?
Yes, physicians who are fully engaged in MOC need to complete a minimum of one PI activity during each 10-year cycle. PI CME modules have been approved by the American Board of Dermatology to fulfill Component 4, Evaluation of Practice Performance.

Q: How much does PI CME cost?
The PI CME modules cost $249 each.  Select modules are free of charge.  

American Medical Association (2010). AMA Physician's Recognition Award Booklet 2010 Revision. Chicago, Ill.