In 2015, WFME published revised WFME Global Standards for Quality Improvement: Continuing Professional Development of Medical Doctors. These are a global medical education expert consensus on the best practice minimum requirements (basic standards) and standards for quality improvement. Altogether there are 76 basic standards, 62 quality development standards and 80 annotations.
Standards are not a universal core curriculum, and they do not define the detail of the content of education. Diversity of educational programmes must be fostered, to account for different educational, social, economic and cultural conditions, different patterns of disease, and to support social responsibility. The standards provide a template for medical schools and other providers of medical education, and the agencies which accredit them to define institutional, national and regional standards, and to act as a lever for quality improvement. Not all of the WFME standards will be relevant in every setting.
CPD includes all activities that doctors undertake, formally and informally, in order to maintain, update, develop and enhance their knowledge, skills, and attitudes in response to the needs of their patients. Engaging in CPD is a professional obligation but also a prerequisite for enhancing the quality of health care. The strongest motivating factor for continuous professional life-long learning is the will and desire to maintain professional quality.
Continuing Medical Education (CME) describes continuing education in the field of knowledge and skills of medical practice; CPD, a broader concept, refers to the continuing development of the multi-faceted competencies inherent in medical practice, covering wider domains of professionalism needed for high quality professional performance. Independence also is implicated, CPD activities being characterized by self-directed learning, only rarely involving supervised training for any extended period of time.