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Evidence-based choices of physicians: a comparative analysis of physicians participating in Internet CME and non-participants

DOI: 10.1186/1472-6920-10-42

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To determine the effectiveness of 114 Internet CME activities, case vignette-based surveys were administered to U.S.-practicing physicians immediately following participation, and to a representative control group of non-participants. Survey responses were analyzed based on evidence presented in the content of CME activities. An effect size for each activity was calculated using Cohen's d to determine the amount of difference between the two groups in the likelihood of making evidence-based clinical decisions.In a sample of 17,142 U.S. physicians, of the more than 350,000 physicians who participated in 114 activities, the average effect size was 0.82. This indicates an increased likelihood of 48% that physicians participating in online activities were making clinical choices based on evidence.Physicians who participated in online CME activities continue to be more likely to make evidence-based clinical choices than non-participants in response to clinical case vignettes.Continuing medical education (CME) activities provide opportunities for medical practitioners to keep up with new information affecting the delivery of medical care, and ongoing participation is required by most physician state licensing boards [1,2]. Participation in CME or other medical education activities is also required by the licensing boards for other types of healthcare providers, such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners. CME providers sponsor a variety of activities, such as courses, regularly scheduled series, or enduring materials, defined as instructional materials that can be accessed at a time chosen by the participant.The number of hours of Internet-based enduring materials provided by Accreditation Council for CME (ACCME)-accredited providers increased dramatically in recent years, from 16,802 hours in 2002 to 57,944 hours in 2008 [3,4]. This three-fold increase was accompanied by an even larger increase in the number of participants choosing Internet-based enduring mater

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