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Telemed J E Health. 2010 Sep;16(7):776-86. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2010.0005.

Satisfaction with a distance continuing education program for health professionals.

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Rural Hospital Program, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas 72204-1611, USA.


This study assessed differences in program satisfaction among health professionals participating in a distance continuing education program by gender, ethnicity, discipline, and community size. A one-group posttest design was used with a sample of 45,996 participants in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Rural Hospital, Distance Continuing Medical Education Program during 1995-2007. This program provided 2,219 continuing education programs for physicians (n = 7,047), nurses (n = 21,264), allied health (n = 3,230) and dental (n = 305) professionals, pharmacists (n = 4,088), administrators (n = 1,211), and marketing/finance/human resources professionals (n = 343). These programs were provided in Arkansas hospitals, clinics, and area health education centers. Interactive video technology and the Internet were used to deliver these programs. The program satisfaction instrument demonstrated adequate internal consistency reliability (Cronbach's alpha = 0.91) and construct validity. Participants had high levels of satisfaction regarding knowledge and skills, use of information to enhance patient care, program quality, and convenience of the technology (mean total satisfaction score = 4.44, range: 1-5). Results from the t-test for independent samples and one-way analysis of variance indicated that men (p = 0.01), African-Americans and Hispanics (p < 0.01), dental professionals (p < 0.01), and participants in larger urban communities (population of 75,001-185,000) (p < 0.01) had significantly greater satisfaction. Nurses and physicians had significantly greater satisfaction regarding the use of information in practice to enhance patient care (p < 0.01). Results suggest that socioeconomic and demographic factors can affect satisfaction with distance continuing education programs.

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