According to the results published in the February edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, a case-based online continuing medical education program helps community physicians better deal with the difficult problems posed by their patients who are in abusive relationships. The articles are "A Tool for Measuring Physician Readiness to Manage Intimate Partner Violence" by Lynn M. Short, PhD, MPH, Elaine Alpert, MD, MPH, John M. Harris Jr., MD, MBA, and Zita J. Surprenant, MD, MPH, and "A Community-Based Trial of an Online Intimate Partner Violence CME Program" by Lynn M. Short, PhD, MPH, Zita J. Surprenant, MD, MPH, and John M. Harris Jr., MD, MBA. From a press release:
- The studies, authored by Dr. Lynn Short and her colleagues, describe the results of a 5-year federally-funded effort to find better ways to improve physician education in domestic violence (intimate partner violence).
The project was undertaken by physician-led medical education company, Medical Directions of Tucson, Arizona, with the research led by external evaluation expert, Dr. Short, to ensure an unbiased study. Company President and Principal Investigator, Dr. John Harris Jr., noted "We worked closely with national domestic violence experts on this project. They are the ones who told us what we needed to measure and how to present the important educational messages."
The research work involved two separate projects, the development and validation of a self-administered survey that measured 10 aspects of physician preparedness to manage partner violence, and the development and testing of a comprehensive online education program. After establishing its reliability and validity, the investigators used the survey tool to determine whether their online program was effective. They studied the online program in 52 practicing primary care physicians in Phoenix and Kansas City. Twenty-nine physicians were randomly assigned not to receive any education and 23 were randomly assigned to take the online program. Twelve months after concluding the education, those physicians who took the program showed clear improvement in eight of the 10 measures of physician partner violence preparedness and those who did not take the program showed no change.
Harris explained the importance of the work, "Although almost all physicians are required to take continuing medical education, there is precious little evidence that any of it works. This trial shows that well-designed education, available over the Internet, can have a lasting and positive impact in an important area."
Every year in our Annual Physician Survey, docs say disparaging things about online CME, and yet, they still are using it. From this year's survey:
- While they said that only 6 percent of their CME was obtained online in the past 12 months, more than half of respondents are currently using the Internet to obtain CME credit, the survey found. Eighty-four percent are getting their online CME from home, while 60 percent access the Internet at work. Interestingly, while fewer than 3 percent use their PDA for online CME access, the younger respondents were no more likely than the oldest group to use a PDA for CME.
Most say their main reasons for avoiding online CME activities are that they're just not interested (41 percent) and that it's too frustrating to navigate (35 percent). Almost 19 percent say it's still not interactive enough, and others have lingering concerns over Internet security (15 percent). Another complaint left in the comments was about “annoying pop-up ads.”
Maybe they're just going to the wrong activities?