Programs for Physicians Should include Online, Live and Print Options

A recent survey from Medical Marketing Service Inc. (MMS) stated that “the key to successful medical direct marketing is listening to physicians, not only by analyzing results of client direct mail and email campaigns, but also by conducting annual surveys.” Early in 2013, MMS conducted surveys to physicians regarding three aspects of medical marketing:

  1. CME,
  2. pharmaceutical marketing, and
  3. physician recruitment.

The surveys were emailed to random samples from the AMA Physicians List, generating 516 responses. The results are as follows:

  • Physicians want and read email and direct mail, and are reading email on mobile devices. Therefore, email and direct mail should be part of every medical marketer’s multichannel mix.
  • Physicians read email during evenings and weekends/days off.
  • Physicians check multiple email addresses.
  • A majority of physicians prefer email at their professional/office address.
  • They are almost unanimously interested in honoraria, which should be offered to qualified professionals whenever legal, ethical, and practical.
  • Online CME is on the ascendant, so CME providers should offer and promote online options.
  • Physicians prefer to receive pharmaceutical information via email instead of from sales reps.
  • Pharmaceutical marketers should offer samples in their email marketing.
  • Recruiters should emphasize location and compensation in direct marketing, and make it easy to respond by email and phone.

In addition to this survey, researchers recently looked at the use of social media in medical education to answer two questions: (1) How have interventions using social media tools affected outcomes of satisfaction, knowledge, attitudes, and skills for physicians and physicians-in-training? and (2) What challenges and opportunities specific to social media have educators encountered in implementing these interventions?

The authors searched the MEDLINE, CINAHL, ERIC, Embase, PsycINFO, ProQuest, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, and Scopus databases (from the start of each through September 12, 2011) using keywords related to social media and medical education. Two authors independently reviewed the search results to select peer-reviewed, English-language articles discussing social media use in educational interventions at any level of physician training. They assessed study quality using the Medical Education Research Study Quality Instrument.

Fourteen studies met inclusion criteria. Interventions using social media tools were associated with improve

  • knowledge (e.g., exam scores),
  • attitudes (e.g., empathy), and
  • skills (e.g., reflective writing).

The most commonly reported opportunities related to incorporating social media tools were

  • promoting learner engagement (71% of studies),
  • feedback (57%), and
  • collaboration and professional development (both 36%).

The most commonly cited challenges were

  • technical issues (43%),
  • variable learner participation (43%), and
  • privacy/security concerns (29%).

Based on these findings, the authors concluded that social media use in medical education is an emerging field of scholarship that merits further investigation. The authors also noted that “educators face challenges in adapting new technologies, but they also have opportunities for innovation.”

New CME Tool

In other CME news, a toolkit has been developed based on a recently-completed performance improvement CME activity to help clinicians manage neuropathic pain of residents in long-term care facilities. The PI CME activity was co-sponsored by The Academy for Continued Healthcare Learning (ACHL) and the University of Michigan Medical School, and supported by an educational grant from Pfizer, Inc.

This toolkit provides resources, templates, and strategies to help long-term care facilities and clinicians develop their own quality improvement project. The goal of this project is to help clinicians accurately and appropriately manage residents with neuropathic or persistent pain.

This toolkit is available on the
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Innovations Exchange site.
The toolkit is designed based on the following model of performance or quality improvement:

Stage A: Learning from current practice performance assessment

Stage B: Learning from the application of performance improvement to patient care

Stage C: Learning from the evaluation of the performance improvement effort

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