After musing about using multimedia for online CME cases, I got to speak with Destry Sulkes, MD, managing director of MedsiteCME, which recently started incorporating multimedia into its online cases.
Sulkes: I used to do almost NASA-grade simulations of patient interactions. But downloading times were long, streaming was tough, and doctors became confused. It just got a little too complex. So at MedsiteCME what we do is strip our cases to be as simple as possible. You read a screen, get a question, click to get the answer, and move on to the next screen. Then we have some
Me: Have you done any outcomes measures to see whether the cases with animations have better outcomes than the plain cases?
Sulkes: We haven‘t assessed these cases versus other cases. What I don‘t want to do is say a case with video is better than a case without video. It depends on the case, the faculty, the structure of the case, and the learning objectives. The video might zap the learning objective and have a high impact on the doctor. But if you drop an animation into the wrong case it can be disruptive and boring and cause the doctor to leave the case. You don‘t want to have media for media‘s sake. You choose the format and the media for the learning objectives and the audience. It changes. You need to be at a national society meeting, and online, and on teleconferences, but you‘re achieving different objectives and you‘re getting different outcomes with each one of those. You can‘t really take one yardstick out and say what are the outcomes for an online case versus a society meeting.
Me: Do the physicians seem to like the multimedia additions, whether or not they affect outcomes?
Sulkes: Most of our doctors are repeat users of our site and they know what we offer. We get a lot of “appreciate the animation,” and "like the video of the patient.”
What I'd be curious to know is if anyone has done two identical cases—same faculty, same case, same learning objective, etc.—with the only difference being that one includes multimedia and one doesn't, and then measured the outcomes. If anyone has done such a thing, please drop me an e-mail or leave a comment below.