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Med Teach. 2017 Jan;39(1):74-78. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2016.1230664. Epub 2016 Sep 15.

Use of the pause procedure in continuing medical education: A randomized controlled intervention study.

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a Division of General Internal Medicine , Mayo Clinic , Rochester , MN , USA.
b Division of General Internal Medicine , Harbor University of California Los Angeles Medical Center , Torrance , CA , USA.
c Division of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics , Mayo Clinic , Rochester , MN , USA.


During lectures, a pause procedure (the presenter pauses so students can discuss content) can improve educational outcomes. We aimed to determine whether (1) continuing medical education (CME) presentations with a pause procedure were evaluated more favorably and (2) a pause procedure improved recall. In this randomized controlled intervention study of all participants (N = 214) at the Mayo Clinic Internal Medicine Board Review course, 48 lectures were randomly assigned to an intervention (pause procedure) or control (traditional lecture) group. The pause procedure was a 1-min pause at the middle and end of the presentation. Study outcomes were (1) presentation evaluation instrument scores and (2) number of recalled items per lecture. A total of 214 participants returned 145 surveys (response rate, 68%). Mean presentation evaluation scores were significantly higher for pause procedure than for traditional presentations (70.9% vs 65.8%; 95%CI for the difference, 3.5-6.7; p < .0001). Mean number of rapid recall items was higher for pause procedure presentations (0.68 vs 0.59; 95%CI for the difference, 0.02-0.14; p = .01). In a traditional CME course, presentations with a pause procedure had higher evaluation scores and more content was recalled. The pause procedure could arm CME presenters with an easy technique to improve educational content delivery.

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