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FAQs: Accreditation Definitions

Commercial Interest Organization
ANCC defines an organization as having a commercial interest (known as a Commercial Interest Organization)* if it:

  • Produces, markets, sells or distributes health care goods or services consumed by or used on patients;
  • Is owned or operated, in whole or in part, by an organization that produces, markets, sells or distributes health care goods or services consumed by or used on patients; or
  • Advocates for use of the products or services of commercial interest organizations.

Commercial Interest Organizations are ineligible for accreditation and may not be a provider or co-provider of an educational activity.

An organization is NOT a Commercial Interest Organization* if it is:

  • A government entity
  • A non-profit (503(c)) organization
  • A provider of clinical services directly to patients, including but not limited to hospitals, health care agencies and independent health care practitioners
  • An entity the sole purpose of which is to improve or support the delivery of health care to patients, including but not limited to providers or developers of electronic health information systems, database systems, and quality improvement systems
  • A non-healthcare related entity whose primary mission is not producing, marketing or selling or distributing health care goods or services consumed by or used on patients
  • Liability insurance providers
  • Health insurance providers
  • Group medical practices
  • Acute care hospitals (for profit and not for profit)
  • Rehabilitation centers (for profit and not for profit)
  • Nursing homes (for profit and not for profit)
  • Blood banks
  • Diagnostic laboratories

Complete accreditation criteria, definitions, and application information are available for download here:
ANCC Primary Accreditation Provider Application Manual

ANCC Primary Accreditation Approver Application Manual

*Reference: Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) Standards of Commercial Support, August 2007. The ANCC definition is intended to ensure compliance with Food and Drug Administration Guidance on Industry-Supported Scientific and Educational Activities and consistency with the ACCME definition.

Commercial Support
Commercial support is defined as a financial or in-kind contribution given by an organization that is a commercial interest organization. An organization that provides commercial support may not participate in planning the educational activity.

Receipt of commercial support contributions must be documented on a commercial support agreement. Learners must be informed of any commercial support received for an educational activity prior to the start of the educational activity (required disclosure).

Conflict of Interest (COI)

COI is defined as an affiliation or relationship of a financial nature with a commercial interest organization that might bias a person's ability to objectively participate in the planning, implementation, or review of a learning activity. The potential for conflicts of interest exists when an individual is able to control or influence the content of an educational activity and is in a financial relationship with a commercial interest organization, the products or services of which are relevant to the content of the educational activity.

The Nurse Planner for the educational activity is responsible for evaluating if any individual in a position to control content of the activity has a relevant relationship with a commercial interest organization, and if so, resolve the conflict of interest.

For complete definitions, processes, and actions related to conflicts of interest:
Download the ANCC Content Integrity Standards for Industry Support in Continuing Nursing Educational Activities [pdf]

Joint Providing

Joint providing or joint providership is defined as two or more organizations working together to plan an educational activity. The provider of the activity is the organization that awards ANCC contact hours. The joint provider(s) are the other organizations working with the provider. A commercial interest organization may not be a provider or joint provider of an educational activity.

The provider of the educational activity retains overall accountability for:
  • Determining educational objectives and content
  • Selecting planners, presenters, speakers, faculty, authors, and/or content reviewers
  • Awarding contact hours
  • Recordkeeping procedures
  • Evaluation methods
  • Management of commercial support or sponsorship

Details related to the collaboration are documented in a joint provider agreement. Learners must be informed if the educational activity was joint provided (required disclosure).

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