Even when physicians perceive commercial bias in a certified CME activity, the majority of them still consider the content valid and credible. That is one of the startling results from a survey of CME participants, presented at the Alliance for CME annual conference in January.

Conducted by Jeanne Cornish, RPh, senior vice president and CME director for intellyst Medical Communications, Aurora, Colo., and James Leist, interim director, Alliance for CME Center for Learning & Change, Birmingham, Ala., the survey of 212 healthcare professionals, mostly physicians, sought to ascertain how CME participants define commercial bias, and how that bias affects their learning.

Overall, most participants reported perceiving some sort of bias in activities, regardless of format. Fifty percent or more of participants found "moderate" or "some" bias in all types of activities; on the other hand, 50 percent or fewer of participants found no bias across the board. Live activities, series (as opposed to live activities, courses) did the best: About 50 percent of participants found no bias in those activities.

While the CME community expends enormous energy to keep activities balanced, participants don’t seem nearly as concerned. A whopping 75 percent of survey respondents said that they still considered the content of biased activities credible and valid.

For more survey results and tips for preventing bias from creeping into program content, watch for the June issue of Medical Meetings.