The pendulum continues to swing toward online learning, according to a survey of 801 clinicians conducted by Elsevier’s Office of Continuing Medical Education (EOCME), medical education company AcademicCME, and ArcheMedX, a healthcare informatics and eā€learning technology company, in 2013.

According to the 2013 Joint Survey of Healthcare Professionals Continuing Education Preferences, 97 percent of the clinicians surveyed will increase (41 percent) or maintain (56 percent) their use of traditional online CME, including webcasts, video, and cases. Forty percent also said they would be doing more mobile CME activities on their smartphones or tablets, and 53 percent said they planned to participate in more virtual courses in 2014. Among the reasons they cited for taking more of their CME virtually were the convenience of online education.

The surveyed clinicians also said they believe online CME activities to be more effective than broad guideline dissemination efforts, patient education tools, and existing practice support tools. Nearly 70 percent rated online CME 7 or higher on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is wholly effective.

While 47 percent didn’t expect to make any changes to their international meeting attendance, more than 40 percent said they expected to participate in significantly fewer live international meetings in the coming year. Similarly, 57 percent didn’t plan to change their national meeting attendance, 21 percent said they planned to attend fewer national meetings in 2014. Local CME meetings continue to grow in popularity, however, with a quarter of participants saying they planned to increase their participation in local live activities in 2014, and 60 percent anticipating no change in their local meeting attendance.

“Clinician confidence in the effectiveness of online education is now almost identical to that of live meetings,” says Brian S. McGowan, PhD, cofounder and chief learning officer of ArcheMedX. “Regardless of specialty or practice setting, the survey results indicate that traditional online courses are emerging as a preferred educational vehicle for physicians.”

Riding the trend, this fall EOCME and AcademicCME launched an ArcheMedX-powered online education program, Improving Patient Outcomes in Multiple Sclerosis: Clinical Trial Data and Management Strategies. Learners taking the four-lesson Web series can take notes, search related resources, and synchronize their notes and searches to the most relevant moments in the educational content.