Demand for Online CE Grows


Clinicians continue to embrace new forms of online learning according to a survey of 801 clinicians conducted by Elsevier’s Office of Continuing Medical Education (EOCME),
AcademicCME, and ArcheMedX in the first half of 2013.

The 2013 Joint Survey of Healthcare Professionals Continuing Education Preferences revealed that 97% of surveyed clinicians will increase or maintain their use of traditional online CME, which coincides with a significant overall trend to reduce participation in live meetings. Another key finding was that nearly 4 in 10 of surveyed clinicians plan to increase their participation in Virtual Courses in the coming year.

The ease of access to and convenience of online education are not the only reasons physicians want digital learning tools and online programs, the survey also revealed that physicians see online CME activities to be more effective than broad guideline dissemination efforts, patient education tools, and existing practice support tools.

These findings were shared at CBI’s 11th Annual Independent Medical Education and Grants Conference and demonstrate an increased demand for traditional forms of online CME (webcasts, video and cases) and virtual courses (prolonged cohort-based learning) as clinicians reduce their dependence on traditional live medical meetings, particularly for government-employed health professionals.

“Clinician confidence in the effectiveness of online education is now almost identical to that of live meetings,” said Dr. Brian S. McGowan, Co-Founder & Chief Learning Officer of ArcheMedX. “Our data clearly shows that healthcare professionals recognize the benefits of participating in online educational activities and as a result up to 40 percent of respondents expect a significant decrease in their live meeting attendance in the coming year.”

As demand for online CME and new digital learning tools continues to grow, EOCME and AcademicCME will launch a series of innovative online education programs powered by the ArcheMedX Connected Learning Platform.

“The future of lifelong learning is at our doorstep,” said Dr. Timothy Hayes, President of AcademicCME. “With the pending launch of our first ArcheMedX-powered program, ‘Improving Patient Outcomes in Multiple Sclerosis: Clinical Trial Data and Management Strategies,’ we have begun to make learning far simpler for clinicians by seamlessly connecting practical educational content with the broad library of resources published and owned by Elsevier.”

When the program launches, learners will experience an enhanced form of online learning as they take notes, search related resources and synchronize their learning actions to the most relevant moments within the educational content, making it easier to apply critical lessons to clinical practice. Access to the new programs will be made available to registered learners through the AcademicCME and EOCME websites, the press release noted.

“Physicians are clamoring for better models of online learning, and thanks to widespread commercial support additional innovative programs in Oncology and Urology will subsequently launch later in the fall,” said Sandy Breslow, Director of the EOCME.

In addition, another article highlighted how digital technology “is revolutionizing both the practice of medicine and CME” and is “changing the way HCPs practice and helping them stay up on the most recent developments in medicine.” The result is more appropriate treatment decisions, greater patient engagement and increased behavior change, writes Jamie DeMaria, Vice President at Medscape Education.

DeMaria noted that increasingly, the context of CME is important and must be one “where clinicians must capture data and report on clinical measures, keep patients at the center of their efforts, and stay up-to-date in their field of practice.” In addition, he noted that adult education must be:

  • problem-centered rather than content-centered;
  • permit and encourage active participation;
  • based on an evaluation agreement;
  • prompt redesign and new learning activities based on evaluation; and
  • incorporate experiential activities.

When you combine these aspects of education with technology, DeMaria noted that CME must employ advanced delivery platforms to “create unique learning environments that seamlessly link assessments to help physicians evaluate learning gaps and provide content that meets those needs.” And they deliver “that content to a convenient location—be it a desktop in the physician’s study, an office laptop, or a handheld device as the doctor makes rounds at the hospital.”

DeMaria also noted that CME which incorporates multimedia or multiple education techniques improves physician performance, citing a review of 105 articles in scientific literature. These findings were consistent with an analysis of 136 articles and nine systematic reviews, with the consensus of the literature finding that CME achieves and maintains stated objectives, including improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, practice behavior and clinical practice outcomes, he also noted.

A recent Medscape performance improvement CME program, for example, had a positive impact on comprehensive diabetes care. This program began by identifying clinical performance gaps and underlying educational needs related to the management of diabetes.

In the first stage of the program, participating physicians underwent a baseline assessment of knowledge, patient care, and performance with regards to treating patients with diabetes.

In the second stage, physicians selected from a variety of educational activities and resources to address identified areas for improvement. The third stage consisted of a re-assessment of knowledge, patient care and performance.

The results were considerably dramatic. Physicians demonstrated statistically significant improvements across every performance measure. A chart review indicated that 96% of patients treated by physicians who completed the program were receiving lipid profiles appropriately, and 91% were receiving appropriate foot exams—key areas for preventing complications from diabetes.

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