Despite the advent of Internet education and air safety concerns after 9/11, physicians still obtain more hours of continuing medical education—37.4 percent—by attending out-of-town meetings than by any other means, according to Medical Meetings' 10th Annual Physician Preferences in CME Survey.

While that's good news for medical meeting planners, it also needs to be put into perspective. The results are a far cry from 1997, when physicians earned 45 percent of their CME hours by traveling to meetings. Part of the reason for that steady decline is the increase in female and under-45 physicians, each of whom is less likely to travel to obtain CME. For the first time since we began measuring gender differences, women as a group obtained more CME by attending local meetings than they did by attending out-of-town meetings. Physicians under the age of 45—regardless of gender—still obtained a higher percentage of CME hours by attending out-of-town meetings (32.2 percent) than by attending local meetings (30.9 percent), but just barely. Other survey highlights: • Location remains the No. 1 factor determining a physician’s decision to attend an out-of-town meeting. • 62.8 percent of respondents said they made no changes in their conference travel plans as a result of 9/11. • After years of following behind resorts and hotels, conference centers have become the top choice of respondents—in large part because so many under-45 physicians (57.9 percent) prefer them.

More survey results will appear in the January/February issue of Medical Meetings.