For me to remain an active retina specialist in Orange County, I need to obtain at least 50 hours of continuing medical education (CME) every two years.
CME is Required
Continuing medical education is required to maintain my California medical license and is also required to maintain my local hospital privileges such as at Hoag Memorial, St. Joseph Hospital of Orange and Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC).
Without hospital privileges I could not operate or treat patients in a hospital and without a state license, I would not be able to treat patients in my office located in Orange County. CME is also required for me to be board certified in ophthalmology and internal medicine.
Without CME, a physician could not practice medicine.
Ways to Obtain CME
There are many ways a physician can obtain CME credits. We can;
- take courses online
- attend medical meetings
- attend courses
- teach medical students and residents
I prefer to attend meetings and courses to earn my CME credits. For me, it is the most practical way for me to earn most of my credits and I can earn many hours at a time. Attending meetings, such as the American Academy of Ophthalmology, are a great way to earn my hours, learn and catch up with friends and colleagues.
There are many, many medical and scientific meetings. There are local meetings at the hospital which earn me credit, county and state medical societies as well. Sometimes I will travel for specialty meetings in Ophthalmology or Internal medicine. It varies every year.
AAO Largest Ophthalmic Society
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), is the largest medical association for ophthalmologists. Most of the ophthalmologists belong to the AAO. It is a meeting for all of ophthalmology held annually around late October or early November.
Our association is quite large and is usually combined with an international society as well. This year’s meeting is in Chicago and is in conjunction with the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO). Tens of thousands of ophthalmologists will l take over Chicago for the 4-5 day meeting.
It is our largest educational and trade show. It so large that we can only hold the meeting in cities such as New Orleans, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Orlando, etc. with convention centers and hotels large enough to meet our needs.
There are classes and courses for everyone and anyone associated with ophthalmology, not just ophthalmologists. Many doctors bring their whole staff including ophthalmic technicians, office managers to train and expand their knowledge as well.
The AAO also has a tremendous exhibition hall where we can test, learn and buy new equipment, instruments or computer systems, for example.
In addition to board certification, continuing medical education is a method by which practicing doctors can attest to their ongoing/constant learning. In this way, state medical boards and hospitals can insure their doctors are keeping up with their skills and knowledge to remain current. In the end, patients may benefit from receiving the most modern and advanced care.