Course Planning Considerations

Continuing education (CE) consists of educational courses which serve to maintain, develop, or increase the knowledge, skills, and professional performance and relationships that the healthcare team uses to provide services for patients, the public, or the profession. Review the information below to familiarize yourself with the steps, timelines, and roles and responsibilities for offering a CE course.

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Planning starts with identifying your target audience and an existing practice gap or gaps they face.  The educational needs you identify as necessary to address the gap(s) will help you develop the course learning objectives and related changes you expect to see in learners’ skills/strategy, performance, or patient outcomes as a result of the course. The needs assessment and content of the course must to be planned by members representative of the target audience (e.g. a physician must be part of the planning committee for a course with a physician target audience, a nurse and a physician must be part of the planning committee for a course with nurses and physicians in the target audience, etc.).

OCPD engages in planning courses with internal University of Minnesota groups and MHealth Fairview groups. These are considered directly provided courses. OCPD also engages in planning courses with eligible external organizations. These are considered jointly provided courses. 

Beginning July 1, 2022 jointly provided courses that intend to submit grant applications for educational support funds will not be eligible for certification by OCPD.

To be eligible for CE certification, course must be developed in compliance with the Joint Accreditation criteria, including:

  • The content of the course must address the educational needs (knowledge, skills, or performance) that underlie the practice gaps of the healthcare team and/or the individual members of the healthcare team.
  • The course must be designed to change the skills or performance of the healthcare team or patient outcomes.
  • The content of the course must be evidence-based, valid, and match the healthcare team’s current or potential scope of professional activities.
  • The educational format of the course must be appropriate for the setting, objectives, and desired results of the course.
    • View Educational Strategies to explore various educational formats and when to use them and/or to confirm that the educational formats in consideration for your course are appropriate.
  • The course must be developed in the context of desirable attributes of the healthcare team.
  • The course must be independent of commercial interests and the content free from promotion and commercial bias, as required by the ACCME Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited CE.
  • The course must be evaluated to analyze the changes in the target audience’s skills, performance, or patient outcomes as a result of the course.

As part of the planning process, we will collaborate with you to to confirm and document that the course is planned, implemented, and evaluated in accordance with accreditation criteria and OCPD policy.

If your course has already been fully developed, and/or promotional information has already been distributed, the course is likely not eligible for certification by OCPD. OCPD will be integrally involved in the design and/or review, including any necessary modifications to existing content, of all educational courses that it certifies for CE credit. 


OCPD has a diverse portfolio of certified courses spanning each calendar year. Contacting us less than 6 months prior to the date of your activity puts extra constraints on our, and your, ability to effectively support a compliant and successful course. OCPD cannot guarantee the ability to accommodate your course if you reach out to us without adequate time for planning.

If your course is less than 6 months away, OCPD may still be able to work with you but don’t delay in completing the Request for Course Certification.

Roles and Responsibilities

OCPD will collaborate Course Directors and Planning Committee members to ensure compliance with accreditation criteria and meet project milestones. Review Course Directors and Planning Committee Members roles and responsibilities for more information.