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Updated: 2 months ago
By Jordan P. Roberts, PA-C

Continuing Medical Education Activities: Online CME

In the search for good CME online, options abound. Choosing between live & online CME means certain sacrifices, but quality should never be one of them.

Types of CME Online

The term ‘online CME’ is hardly specific anymore.

Depending on your learning preferences, specialty content areas needed, CME budget, and other factors, you could be looking for any number of kinds of CME.

The links here will take you to more detailed sections of this website related to each topic.

Live CME vs CME Online

If you are looking for good continuing medical education online, you have plenty of options. You could have any number of reasons for choosing online CME over live CME this (or any other) year.

Personally, my wife and I welcomed a new addition to the household just before ‘conference season’ was set to start in 2020. This made online CME, on-demand conferences, or CME apps perfect for me.

As an (even more) sleep-deprived new parent who wanted to spend as much time at home as possible, travel CME was out of the question for several reasons, including that bug that’s going around (still).

Whether you can’t make it to a live CME conference, would prefer not to travel, or have something else entirely going on, there is no shortage of quality, Covid-restrictions compliant CME online in pretty much any specialty.

Here are our top picks based on popularity, ease of use, and bang for your buck, along with plenty of free CME options. If you are looking for all our CME reviews, go here.

Board Vitals Online CME

CME Gift Card Deals & Special Offers by Board Vitals

Board Vitals online CME encompasses just about every medical specialty, from addiction medicine to urology.

Other popular specialties include their hospital medicine CME, anesthesiology CME, preventative medicine CME, dermatology CME, and pathology CME

In addition to quality online CME, Board Vitals is also a top provider of CME with gift card offers, which can really help you get the most out of your CME allowance.

You can get access to Board Vitals CME Professional for six months for $599 or twelve months for $999.

If you prefer a longer subscription, there is CME Pro Plus, which comes with twelve, eighteen, or twenty-four months access plus that free Amazon gift card or Prepaid Visa.

Board Vitals CME Pro Plus

Board Vitals CME Pro Plus comes in the following preset options, though there is substantial customization available. Here are the standard choices for CME Pro Plus:

  • 12 months: $1,995 plus get a $1,000 Amazon gift card or prepaid Visa
  • 18 months: $2,895 plus get a $1,500 Amazon gift card or prepaid Visa
  • 24 months: $5,450 plus get a $3,000 Amazon gift card or prepaid Visa

If that CME with a free gift card is what you are truly after, but your CME budget is different from that above, that’s okay.

CME Pro Plus has a choose-your-own-price option, where you can customize your price, length of subscription, and score a free Amazon gift card or prepaid Visa worth up to $3,000. That’s one of the highest CME gift card rewards in the industry. Try the choose-your-own-price tool.

Online CME that Satisfies State Requirements

Finally from Board Vitals, there are two additional options for state-required CME, each for just $39. These programs are primarily designed to help you quickly meet your state opioid and palliative care CME requirements.

The first is Opioid Prescribing, Substance Use Disorder, and Pain Management CME, which will net you 10 hours of category 1 CME.

The second is worth 12 free category 1 CME credits consisting of pain management, palliative, and end of life care CME.

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VisualDx CME: Mobile & Web App

VisualDx is one medical app that offers CME while also making your life in clinic so much less stressful. It allows you to quickly build a differential diagnosis based on presenting concerns or by taking a HIPAA-compliant picture of any skin lesion with the DermExpert package.

The future has arrived, and it’s amazing. 

Pricing

  • VisualDx: $650/year or $1300/2 years
  • VisualDx + DermExpert: $750/year or $1500/ 2 years

Trust me, this clinical decision support app is so worth it, especially with DermExpert.

Here are some more details on VisualDx and VisualDx + DermExpert to help you decide.

MDCalc: Point of Care Calculators + CME

MDCalc CME with Gift Card

MDCalc is one of the latest medical education teams to offer CME; the platform is still free for all to access, but you now have the option of purchasing a CME subscription.

This means you can now earn CMEs just by using their point-of-care calculators on your smartphone or desktop. 

The calculators are so good because they are easy to follow, user-friendly, and constantly updated.

We’ve also named MDCalc one of the top medical apps to purchase with your CME funds, in part because of the premium CME deal located further below.

Purchasing a subscription helps support MDCalc as a free resource for millions around the world.

Each purchase also comes with a free “thank you” gift set or gift card. Here’s the general pricing schedule:

  • Basic – $99/year (~$20/credit)
    • Earn 5 category 1 CME credits per year
  • Standard – $199/year (~$13/credit)
    • Earn 15 category 1 CME credits per year
  • Plus 30 – $299/year (~$10/credit)
    • Earn 30 category 1 CME credits per year
  • Plus 40 – $449/year 
    • Earn 40 category 1 CME credits per year
    • Bonus: free gift set

Clinicians also have the option to earn free CME with the new COVID-19 calculators, worth up to 8.5 credits. 

MDCalc CME Gift Card
MDCalc CME with Gift Card Offers

Premium MDCalc CME Gift Card Subscriptions

Unlimited: 1-year subscription with unlimited CME credits + $2,750 gift card – $4,999

2) Plus 75: 1-year subscription with 75 CME credits/yr + $1,600 gift card – $2,999

3) Plus 65: 1-year subscription with 65 CME credits/yr + $1,050 gift card – $2,999

4) Plus 50: 1-year subscription with 50 CME credits/yr + $450 gift card – $899

Oakstone Online CME

Oakstone Board Reviews

Oakstone offers board review and convenient online CME for physicians, nurse practitioners, and PAs in over 40 medical specialties.

Through their main continuing medical education products, CMEinfo Insider, CMEinfo, and Practical Reviews, they offer some of the best recorded CME conferences, journal summaries, and more.

Oakstone’s online CME is constantly updated, so you know you are getting only the latest, most clinically relevant information. There are three main options for online CME with Oakstone.

CMEinfo Insider

CMEinfo Insider

Oakstone also offers awesome CME with gift card offers, the flagship being their CMEinfo Insider. It has everything from CMEinfo below – in addition to a free Amazon gift card worth up to $2,500. 

The library of content in CMEinfo Insider includes not only the latest updates in your primary specialty, but also gives you unlimited access to medical information in each of their other specialties.

This literally corresponds to an ability to earn an unlimited amount of category 1 CME credits. Seriously, is there anything else out there like this?

There are over 18,000 journal summaries, but don’t worry, they all come with an audio companion that saves time and energy. Furthermore, you can also access over 1,230 board-review and clinical update activities via video. 

It is available as a one year subscription plus a $1,000 gift card, a two year subscription plus a $1,500 gift card, or a three year subscription plus a $2,500 complimentary gift card. 

  • 1-year subscription: $1,999 plus $1,000 Amazon gift card
  • 2-year subscription: $2,999 plus $1,500 Amazon gift card
  • 3-year subscription: $4,749 plus $2,500 Amazon gift card

Get your CMEinfo Insider subscription here

Practical Reviews

Practical Reviews CME with gift card logo

The second option is Practical Reviews, a fast, efficient way to earn CME online. You’ll have access to audio expert reviews, text summaries, and carefully curated articles from leading medical journals covering 20 medical specialties.

A one-year term is normally $599 and a two-year term will run you $1,198 in total. In addition to the high-quality content, you have the ability to choose monthly audio CDs and printed abstracts for an additional $49.00. 

Read more about Oakstone Practical Reviews.

By the way, they run special sales through partners like us every so often. Be sure to check back with us before purchasing, as we’ll link them below for you.

CMEinfo

Next we have CMEinfo. It has CME covering just about everything from internal medicine to addiction medicine for non-addiction specialists to comprehensive reviews of dermatology, neurosurgery, and more.

In addition to a boatload of category 1 CME credits, CMEinfo is also extremely useful for earning MOC points.

It comes as online-only for $1,095, online + USB or audio MP3 (CD or USB) for $1,195, or a combination of both for $1,695.

Audio Digest Online CME

Audio Digest Foundation offers some of the most comprehensive, current, and convenient CME online. 

There are three options for membership to Audio Digest; silver, gold, and platinum.

Silver provides access to the latest releases in one specialty. A gold membership includes access to previous releases as well as the most current updates in a single specialty. There is also an extended library likely covering your specialty. Lastly, a platinum membership includes unlimited access to the entire Audio Digest library covering 15 medical specialties from anesthesiology to urology.  

Audio Digest is another top provider of CME with gift card offers.

We also have a special Audio Digest promotion for you. Modern MedEd readers are eligible for an additional $100 Visa prepaid gift card with our referral when you make a purchase of $399 or more. Purchases of less than $399 are eligible for an additional $50 Visa gift card.

Hippo Online CME Podcasts

Hippo Education Logo

Hippo Education focuses their CME efforts on primary care, pediatrics, urgent care, and emergency medicine. Their audio CME is well produced, thoughtful, and hilarious all at the same time. You won’t be disappointed. 

Each of the three Reviews and Perspectives (RAPs) podcasts comes with a free episode monthly, so you can be sure it’s right for you before you subscribe.

Free Online CME

It’s nice to remember that there is also plenty of free CME online to be earned by healthcare professionals. These programs may be funded by a sponsorship or grant from a private company (usually pharma, medical device, or the like) with a relevant interest in the therapeutic area. 

In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with industry sponsorship of CME as long as it’s transparent (which is required for accreditation these days).

However, many clinicians prefer independent CME over sponsored content, for totally understandable reasons. The good news is that many independent continuing medical education providers also offer some degree of free content, and some even provide the chance to earn CME credits for free.

Here are a few options:

Master Clinicians creates independent CME for the urgent care clinician, while also doing so much more.

They offer a monthly podcast with great insights you won’t find anywhere else as well as the ability to earn free category 1 CME credits.

Topics eligible for free CME credit include x-ray interpretation, urgent care essentials, dermatology, the patient experience, orthopaedics, EKG interpretation, burnout, and COVID-19.

Sign up to Master Clinicians here and start listening to free CME!

NetCE Free Online CME

NetCE is a popular, comprehensive place for physicians and PAs to get CME in bite-sized pieces at your own pace.

The site has a variety of both free CME and paid CME covering just about every topic imaginable.

They also do a good job of matching you with your state licensure CME requirements and delivering exactly what you need.

Talk about a stress-reliever. Furthermore, their paid CME is surprisingly affordable when broken down into a cost per credit basis.

AAFP CME Online

With content including family medicine CME, as well as continuing medical education in urgent care, emergency medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, and more, there is sure to be something for almost every clinician here.

Pri-Med CME Online

Pri-Med is an interesting option for getting short-bursts of primary care for free CME online. They have short, easy-to-digest modules ranging from 0.25 to 2.0 CME credits each.

This is a good option for free online CME when you have a few moments and want to learn something specific and don’t mind the occasional industry sponsorship with your CME. 

There’s nothing inherently bad about that, it’s just one factor to consider.

Online PANRE Board Review for PAs

Consider this a bonus entry of sorts. BoardVitals recently released a new CME practice PANRE question bank. Not only is is great for PAs studying for the PANRE, but it also gets you 45 category 1 CME credits.

And it’s from our friends at Board Vitals, makers of the popular CME with gift card offers

It’s pretty good if I do say so myself, and I should know, I wrote half of it.  

The entire bank contains more than 900 board-style items with quality explanations and illustrations to help you understand the stuff you forgot over the last ten years.

The interface is easy to look at and easy to use, even if you’ve spent all day with EPIC-induced hypertension. Plus, the analytics and insights it comes with are unbeatable.

To save ten percent, enter the promo code MODERN10 at checkout

The Future of CME Online

Continuing medical education is a huge industry and is only growing larger each year. One of the key drivers of future growth is on-demand, location-independent CME. So it’s no question that online CME providers are filling this need. 

As more online CME providers, including CME mobile app developers, enter this space, we’ll do our due diligence and update this post as appropriate. For that reason, we’ve tried to make this an easily bookmarkable page you can periodically visit so you stay updated.

It would be counterproductive to try list every online CME provider out there, and that’s not the goal of this post. Rather, it is to provide options for well-known, high quality CME that we’ve independently used and vetted. Your CME money is precious. Use it wisely.

First Published: February 27, 2020

Further Reading

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ANy CME we recommend meets the following standards:

Providers not meeting these standards may be mentioned for sake of completeness or topic relevance.
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