Pri-Med study shows online CME expanding

Pri-Med Research's National Physician CME Insight Study has found that primary care physicians are increasingly turning to a variety of channels for continuing education. It says that now the typical primary care physician in the United States earns an average of 58 credits per year, which is more that states require. From the press release:

    Live educational forums account for 56% of the CME credits earned by primary care physicians - a ratio little changed from 2003. Online CME now delivers approximately 12% of accredited continuing medical education, a significant gain of 50% in two years, while print CME opportunities maintain the balance of CME hours earned.

    “The data tells us that the role of continuing medical education in healthcare is expanding,” according to Anne Goodrich, Director of Research at the Pri-Med Institute. “While eCME influence on physician learning behavior is clearly gaining momentum, it appears to be complementing medical conferences rather than displacing them. We found that clinical topics addressed in live forums are often further investigated online.”

    In the nationwide survey, 53% of physicians responding said they planned to complete more hours of CME online in the coming year, while 66% of these reported that they will participate in the same number of live meetings.

    Across Learning Channels Selection Criteria Are Constant

    Physicians surveyed reported that the relevance of a clinical topic and its potential to enhance patient care are the key criteria for participating in a continuing education program, irrespective of the channel through which it‘s offered. They then determine if participation in the CME activity is convenient in terms of location, schedule and time demands. Also important is the stature and reputation of speakers, or authors in the case of an online activity.

    For live meetings, location continues to be a primary consideration. Nearly 70% of doctors surveyed said they prefer meetings held within 200 miles of their practice.

    Industry Support Viewed as Positive

    Educational grants from the pharmaceutical industry have no influence on the decision to participate in CME programs for 94% of physicians surveyed. In fact, almost two out of three doctors believe that educational grants have a positive impact on the CME opportunities available for practitioners today. Exhibitions ancillary to medical conferences are also important attractions cited by doctors surveyed: for 45%, opportunities to get specific product information are a factor in selecting medical meetings.

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