Managing External Credits: A Double-Edged Sword for Accredited Providers and Learners Alike!

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Jennifer Donnelly, MLIS
Chief Accreditation Officer
©CloudCME, February 4, 2020


Healthcare learners often attend and complete accredited continuing education activities offered by multiple accredited providers. Sometimes learners are in a time crunch to earn their required CE credits so they complete online activities or activities offered by other local healthcare organizations. Other cases include learners that travel to complete accredited continuing education activities such as physicians attending preceptorships or national conferences. Regardless of a learner’s needs in completing activities accredited by other organizations, one issue persists: How can one comprehensive transcript, including both internal and external CE credits earned, be managed and maintained by learners to include a total CE credit count by credit type so that leaners can easily track them? Until there are more accrediting bodies that have a centralized database to capture and store learners’ CE credit records such as CPE Monitor®, this will continue to be a challenging issue.

CE credit records are best managed by the learners themselves. After all, CE credits for re-licensure is the licensee’s responsibility. Learners are often challenged in knowing how many CE credits are required in the licensure period and the current number of CE credits they have earned to date. The days of retaining CE certificates of completion in a filing cabinet are gone. Learners now expect an electronic means to manage their CE credits, certificates and transcripts. How can this need be achieved easily, efficiently and cost effectively? 

When looking for a solution, accredited providers may have additional requirements or concerns:


How can the external credit document be recorded as part of the external credit record?

The solution should offer the flexibility to require learners to submit the official certificate or transcript as provided by the external accredited provider.

One known fact is that a comprehensive transcript that includes both internal and external credit records and total credit counts benefits medical licensed learners and makes it easier for them to manage and meet their required CE credits for re-licensure. Most accredited providers do not have the time or staff to govern this process. An electronic, efficient solution is needed by accredited providers to empower learners to engage and maintain these records.

CloudCME® offers External Credit functionality in the Attendee Portal that effectively meets learners’ need to manage their external CE credit records that results in one comprehensive user CE transcript.

Claim External Credits

This example shows a typical external credit form that a learner would complete in the attendee portal. It includes both data values such as activity name, credit type, credit date and credit hours as well as the ability to upload supporting documentation for the credit. CloudCME® provides this functionality as a standard offering. There is no annual charge to store these external credits – either to the end user or their institution. If there is a need for a manager review and approval of these external credits, a manager review\approval workflow is available and can be easily turned on.

This article represents the insight and opinions by CloudCME®, a technology company that provides a platform for managing all aspects of an accredited continuing education (CE) department. Accredited Continuing Education Providers are solely responsible for ensuring compliance with accrediting bodies, providerships and approving bodies criteria.