Which Do Physicians Prefer: Online CMEs or In Person?

Technology is rapidly expanding in virtually every field, including the medical and healthcare industries. This also extends to CME courses, as participants can now opt to take online courses instead of having to travel to a physical location. In addition, more funding for CME is being used for online courses every year. However, traditional CME remains largely dominant in the industry. A recent study was conducted to analyze the way physicians perceive electronic CME (eCME) when compared with traditional CME.

physician laptop stethoscope

The results of the study’s focus groups showed that three key factors were believed to be most important: credibility, control and content/context. Credibility was seen as the most important factor overall, meaning that a course should either be affiliated with a well-known institution or have proper accreditation from a recognized organization.

Control over how the course participants were able to access materials was also an important topic. For example, eCME users valued the ability to access information in a variety of different formats, such as podcasts and videos. In addition, eCME courses allowed users to tailor the amount of time spent on specific topics to their needs. Physicians who valued these aspects of education were much more likely to utilize eCME courses.

Pros and Cons

However, while eCME offers flexibility, it lacks personalized explanations and discussions. For this reason, many physicians and educators strongly favor traditional CME, even in the digital age. For most in the industry, the need for face-to-face discussion and direct in-depth answers cannot be replaced by technology.

The message to take away from this study is that both platforms have their strengths and weaknesses, and it is unlikely that one will completely replace the other. To find resources for a Las Vegas medical meeting facility, contact the Oquendo Center at 866.800.7326.

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