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JAMA. 2005 Sep 7;294(9):1043-51.

Comparison of the instructional efficacy of Internet-based CME with live interactive CME workshops: a randomized controlled trial.

Author information

  • 1Center for Collaborative and Interactive Technologies, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Tex 77030, USA. fordis@bcm.tmc.edu

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Despite evidence that a variety of continuing medical education (CME) techniques can foster physician behavioral change, there have been no randomized trials comparing performance outcomes for physicians participating in Internet-based CME with physicians participating in a live CME intervention using approaches documented to be effective.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine if Internet-based CME can produce changes comparable to those produced via live, small-group, interactive CME with respect to physician knowledge and behaviors that have an impact on patient care.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS:

Randomized controlled trial conducted from August 2001 to July 2002. Participants were 97 primary care physicians drawn from 21 practice sites in Houston, Tex, including 7 community health centers and 14 private group practices. A control group of 18 physicians from these same sites received no intervention.

INTERVENTIONS:

Physicians were randomly assigned to an Internet-based CME intervention that could be completed in multiple sessions over 2 weeks, or to a single live, small-group, interactive CME workshop. Both incorporated similar multifaceted instructional approaches demonstrated to be effective in live settings. Content was based on the National Institutes of Health National Cholesterol Education Program--Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Knowledge was assessed immediately before the intervention, immediately after the intervention, and 12 weeks later. The percentage of high-risk patients who had appropriate lipid panel screening and pharmacotherapeutic treatment according to guidelines was documented with chart audits conducted over a 5-month period before intervention and a 5-month period after intervention.

RESULTS:

Both interventions produced similar and significant immediate and 12-week knowledge gains, representing large increases in percentage of items correct (pretest to posttest: 31.0% [95% confidence interval {CI}, 27.0%-35.0%]; pretest to 12 weeks: 36.4% [95% CI, 32.2%-40.6%]; P<.001 for all comparisons). Chart audits revealed high baseline screening rates in all study groups (> or =93%) with no significant postintervention change. However, the Internet-based intervention was associated with a significant increase in the percentage of high-risk patients treated with pharmacotherapeutics according to guidelines (preintervention, 85.3%; postintervention, 90.3%; P = .04).

CONCLUSIONS:

Appropriately designed, evidence-based online CME can produce objectively measured changes in behavior as well as sustained gains in knowledge that are comparable or superior to those realized from effective live activities.

PMID:
16145024
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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