While physicians' use of eCME is growing, even the most active Internet-users rely heavily on live meetings for their CME credits, according to a new study.

Pri-Med's Annual National CME Insights and Behaviors Study finds that avid online learners--those who earn an average of 34 credit hours per year online--also spend an average of 38 hours per year learning at live meetings, stated Anne Goodrich, director, Physicians Insights Research at Pri-Med, in a press release. Overall, 72 percent of physicians use the Internet daily for clinical information, but they also earn half of their CME credits through live meetings. On average physicians attend 11 full-day live educational meetings a year, according to the study by the Boston-based CME provider.

“We are not seeing single-channel CME usage as some might have predicted," said Goodrich. "It is not an either/or proposition for physicians because each CME channel has its own unique value.”

The survey, which polled 1,891 primary care physicians, cardiologists, neurologists, and psychiatrists, revealed some interesting trends. For example, online CME activity has increased 63 percent among primary care physicians since 2003. In the specialty areas, psychiatrists are using more online CME than their other specialty counterparts, while cardiologists spend an even greater percentage of their CME hours at live forums. Further, neurologists are driven to participate in a CME activity by speaker reputation, while primary care practitioners place more emphasis on logistics, such as convenience of the location and cost.

“CME has the best value when it is part of a curriculum where the core education is reinforced in different learning formats over time," said Goodrich. "Our data confirms that this holistic approach to education is an effective strategy to help drive lasting behavior change among physicians."