Continuing medical education in Europe: Towards a harmonised system

A. Costa, F. Van Hemelryck, A. Aparicio, W. Gatzemeier, J. W. Leer, B. Maillet, D. K. Hossfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the first reports on the state of medical education was published in 1910 in North America, with the support of the Carnegie Foundation, showing that the interest for this issue dates back at least a century. Doctors (and nurses) are among the few professionals who managed to avoid for a long time any sort of evaluation of their knowledge and competence after the achievement of their diploma. But concern has been rising in society about the fast obsolescence of medical knowledge, particularly in the last 50 years when the development of research and technology in the field has been so fast. The concept of Continuing Medical Education gained growing interest after the Second World War as a necessity for health professionals, but also as a form of protection of patients, who have the right to be treated by competent and knowledgeable doctors and nurses. The United States (US)-based Josiah Macy Foundation recently sponsored a conference exploring the state of continuing education and the result is 'a picture of a disorganised system of education with obvious foci of excellence (most in universities) but with most commercially supported events shading more towards product promotion and the welfare of doctors than prioritised dedication to enhancing the care of patients'.1 Despite the fact that there is a lot to be learned from the US experience, Europe has to find its own way. Considerable progress was made since 1995 when UEMS (Union Européenne des Médecins Spécialistes) started to structure CME activities in Europe at translational level. A workshop on the issue was jointly organised by the European School of Oncology (ESO) and the Accreditation Council of Oncology in Europe (ACOE) in Berlin in September 2009.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2340-2343
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010


  • ACOE
  • CME
  • CME accreditation
  • CME credits
  • Continuing medical education
  • E-learning
  • ESO
  • National Accreditation Authority

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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