Breaking — PAs can now earn Category 1 CME for searching and learning on shift

New plugin technology lets PAs earn all of their NCCPA-compliant Category 1 CME while focusing on patient care

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Orbit’s new technology provides urgently-needed relief for PAs that require NCCPA-compliant Category 1 CME

There are lots of ways for PAs to earn CME — conferences, online videos, journal articles- but they all cost either money, time, or sanity. If you’re like many physician assistants, then you’re already short on all three. Thanks to Orbit ( — a new startup in Palo Alto — physician assistants will never have to worry about their NCCPA CME deadline again. Here’s why.

Blazing a path to efficient NCCPA-compliant CME

Last month, the programmers at Orbit, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, actually made that possible. The Orbit plugin converts your browsing activity at work into unlimited Category 1 Credit. Here’s how:

Install the plugins. Use the Chrome browser. The Orbit plugin takes 3 seconds to install. They also have you install an ad blocker plugin, because you’re not allowed to see ads when you earn CME.

Surf the web. Whenever you visit an eligible site while you’re logged into the plugin, you’ll be able to automatically submit and process requests through the plugin to receive Category 1 CME. The full list of eligible sites includes physician-assistant-focused journals like JAAPA, American Family Physician and Family Practice Management . If you don’t have access to those journals, don’t worry. Orbit also supports requests for CME from visits to open access sites like PLOS Medicine, Radiopaedia, PubMed, and PubMed Central.

Redeem your credits. When you visit an eligible page while logged in, Orbit will process your automated request and issue an offer for CME to your Orbit feed. When you log into your Orbit feed, click on the “Redeem” button, and hit “Post” on the form. Congrats — you’ve just earned 0.5 Category 1 credits.

A glimpse from Orbit’s founder Ram Srinivasan MD PhD. Orbit’s new tech now lets PAs earn NCCPA-compliant Category 1 CME for searching the web for best practices while diagnosing and treating patients on shift.

Why Orbit decided to focus on physician assistants

We sat down with Orbit’s founder/CEO Ram Srinivasan, MD, PhD to ask what inspired him to crack the CME problem for PAs. Ram is a Harvard and MIT-trained physician-engineer, practicing radiologist, and nationally-recognized educator in radiology. “As a radiologist, I work extensively with PA-C colleagues in emergency medicine,” he said. “Sometimes I feel like we’re connected at the hip.” Over the years, Ram has gotten to know several PAs inside the hospital and out. And he’s seen the PA lifestyle– it can either be very good or it can stretch you thin on work-life balance.

…the PA lifestyle– it can either be very good or it can stretch you thin on work-life balance.

For PAs that use Orbit, the ability to earn CME on service means a little extra room for their personal lives and a few extra dollars in their pockets saved from expensive conference registration and travel. Since Orbit is so efficient with earning Category 1 CME, PAs in Orbit get to skip the holiday tradition of panic associated with the December 31st NCCPA CME deadline. All of that makes Ram happy, because it means PAs get to spend more time enjoying life and caring for their patients.

Getting Orbit at a discount

Although Orbit is pretty gentle on the pocketbook ($9.99/month for the first year), there are some ways you can save a few extra dollars.

Use pre-tax money. If you’re allowed to deduct work-related expenses on your taxes, you might be able to subtract your subscription to Orbit. This could save you 30% or more. Obviously, check with your accountant for expert guidance on your specific situation.

Use your education account. Don’t forget that your employer may already pay for you to complete educational activities. Get your Orbit receipt reimbursed at work, and you won’t have to pay anything out of pocket.

Words of advice from physician assistants in Orbit

We asked PAs in Orbit about their advice on CME. Here’s what they said:

Care about content. On some sites, it may be possible to claim Category 1 CME for reading fluff articles like “Coffee versus soda for staying awake during night shifts.” Imagine a malpractice case where the lawyers show the fluff articles you’ve been using for CME — disaster. Make sure your CME relates to legitimate peer-reviewed sources.

Be kind to yourself. We’ve all dealt with frustrating electronic medical systems. Many free CME sites require searching from a proprietary portal which is restrictive, and search results are borderline relevant. Even after you’ve looked at an article, earning and tracking your certificates can turn into a click storm. Don’t inflict any of that on yourself to save a few dollars that are considered a pre-tax business expense anyway.

Make sure your CME is legitimate. If a site looks or feels sketchy to you, then it probably is. It’s kind of like the same reason you shower and comb your hair before work. The way the site looks reflects the care that the creators took in making sure the educational experience is legitimate and authentic. Orbit is certified by Tufts University School of Medicine and complies with NCCPA, AMA, and ACCME guidelines.

The bottom line

There’s no better way for PAs to focus on patient care while earning NCCPA-compliant Category 1 CME. With Orbit, PAs won’t need to worry about meeting their NCCPA deadline ever again.

Orbit’s provider wellness technology is used by patient-focused providers everywhere. Learn more at

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Orbit’s mission is to invest in the wellness of medical professionals.

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