Today's News

Saturday, March 18, 2000

Continuing Medical Education

Issue raised

What are the standards of continuing medical education to which orthopaedic surgeons should subscribe?

Applicable provision of the Principles of Medical Ethics in Orthopaedic Surgery

"VI. The orthopaedic surgeon continually must strive to maintain and improve medical knowledge and to make relevant information available to patients, colleagues, and the public."

Applicable provision of the Code of Ethics

"IV.A. The orthopaedic surgeon continually must strive to maintain and improve medical knowledge and skill, and should make available to patients and colleagues the benefits of his or her professional attainments. Each orthopaedic surgeon should participate in relevant continuing medical educational activities."

Other references

American Medical Association, Principles of Medical Ethics, Article V. "A physician shall continue to study, apply and advance scientific knowledge, make relevant information available to patients, colleagues, and the public, obtain consultation, and use the talents of other health professionals when indicated."


Every orthopaedic surgeon has an ethical and professional obligation to stay abreast of the developing knowledge in the musculoskeletal sciences. The contract that exists between surgeon and patient, and between the profession and society, requires the acceptance of this obligation. The rate of growth of scientific knowledge and clinical experience in our specialty place an extraordinary responsibility on each orthopaedic surgeon to maintain his or her knowledge base.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons believes that a lifelong commitment to continuing medical education is essential for orthopaedic surgeons. This commitment is essential if orthopaedic surgeons, as professionals, are to fulfill their commitment to provide high quality health care. The choice of educational methods or experience is the responsibility of individual orthopaedic surgeons. The Academy places no specific requirements on its Fellows in terms of areas or types of instruction, minimum number of hours of education during a particular time period, or preferred providers of education programs.


The Academy believes that each orthopaedic surgeon must develop his or her own approach to knowledge maintenance in an organized and explicit manner to assure that it addresses content in all areas in which care is provided. To do this requires:

As an organization devoted to the education of orthopaedic surgeons and others, the Academy makes available current authoritative and evaluative educational materials to enhance orthopaedic knowledge and to facilitate the provision of improved patient care. The Academy's commitment to education is enduring and substantive. Every orthopaedist should make a similar commitment to excellence.

February, 1992
Reviewed December, 1995
February, 1997

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Last modified 24/February/2000 by IS