IN MAY OF 2003, the New Jersey-based print and Internet publication MD Net Guide (www.mdng.com) inaugurated a new kind of award for online achievement: the Netties, more formally known as the “MD Net Guide Awards for Excellence on the Medical Internet. Among the award highlights were two prizes related to CME, one given to the best e-CME provider, and the other to the best online CME directory.

The big winners? As Best CME Provider, MD Net Guide recognized the New York-based CybeRounds CME (www.cyberounds.com), the leader in a field of nominees that also included Baylor CME, CE City, the Cleveland Clinic, and the University of Alabama School of Medicine.

To earn its title as the Best CME Directory, The Doctor's Guide to the Internet (www.docguide.com) bested a host of worthy nominees: CME List, HealthStream University, Medical Computing Today, and the Texas Medical Association.

Doctors as Judges

The opinions of the hundreds of thousands of individual physicians — the people who actually have to use these sites — was incorporated into the decision-making process. MD Net Guide's editors first selected five nominees in each topic area. Throughout the nominating process, the staff worked closely with the publication's nine member editorial board which includes physicians from the Cleveland Clinic, Harvard University, the Mayo Clinic, Stanford University, and elsewhere.

The nominees were then announced in a special extended edition of MD Net Guide. The publication threw the ultimate selection of winners open to its physician readers, who responded by the thousands.

Good Versus Great

What were the crucial categories separating the good from the great? The number of links was obviously a critical concern; a good directory really should be a one-stop shop, not a place you can go to get some of your CME credits before you have to move on to somewhere else. It should also update very frequently. The editors gave extra credit to those sites that offered extremely detailed information — number of credits, plug-ins required, subject matter, format, etc. — for each activity, in a readily accessible spot. This allows doctors to quickly determine whether a particular activity is of interest to them. On a related note, they also wanted to recognize sites that were especially well organized; all of the nominated resources are easy to navigate.

For Best CME Provider, the relevant criteria were somewhat different; the editors considered only those sites that offered outstanding material. Like the previous category, number of activities and quality of organization were taken into account. Nominees were also judged according to how frequently they added new programs — more frequently, of course, was better — and how creative and interesting their activities were.

Creativity Wins

CybeRounds distinguishes itself from the dozens of other online CME providers by the sheer, audacious creativity of the activities it creates for physicians. These unusual activities include the Cardio Country Club, the site's flagship presentation; this program allows physicians to play a virtual game of “golf,” while answering questions and earning CME credit along the way.

The Doctor's Guide to the Internet, winner of best directory, distanced itself from the competition by its sheer size and scope. The Doctor's Guide to the Internet adds new programs almost daily, and carries CME material sufficient to allow doctors, if they so choose, to access most or all of their yearly CME through this site alone.




MD Net Guide is now taking sunmissions for the 2003-04 Netties. For more information, contact John L. Maillard, editorial director, at (609) 716-7777, or jmaillard@mdnetguide.com.

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