A self-regulating profession holds its members accountable to the public it serves for the continuous development of the competencies they profess to hold. A central component of physician competence is professionalism, which requires lifelong learning that leads to improved performance in practice. A medical profession accomplishes accountability by providing its members periodic measurement of performance using reliable and valid instruments and judging performance against evidence-based standards, providing graduate and continuing medical education (CME) programs that advance members' knowledge and skills to meet these standards, and publicly certifying those who do so.
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