Hands-on Continuing Medical Education (CME) and impact on practice performance: Best practices and lessons learned

Lisa Fleet, Cecilia Mesh, Pamela Snow, Vernon Curran


Background One of the goals of continuing medical education (CME) is to help physicians acquire and apply scientific knowledge, demonstrate skill, and perform effectively as healthcare providers.2 CME programs are important in improving clinical outcomes, as many physicians use such programs as a primary method of acquiring new information.3 In October 2011, Professional Development & Conferencing Services (PDCS), Faculty of Medicine, offered a hands-on/interactive live CME program, enabling physicians and other health professionals with opportunities to practice specific skills in various therapeutic areas. Objectives To examine the effect of this hands-on/interactive CME on participants practices and patient health outcomes. Methods Online survey-questionnaire distributed to all program registrants 12 weeks post-program participation. Combination of quantitative and qualitative data collected. Respondents were asked to rate their knowledge/skills in various areas before/after the CME. Respondents were asked to report on the application of the knowledge and skills obtained in practice and impact on patient care. Results Twelve (N=12) program participants (out of 40) responded to the survey, for an overall response rate of 30.0%. The majority of respondents (90.9%) were family physicians. All respondents (100%) reported being able to use the knowledge and skills learned from the program in practice. A paired samples t-test shows significant differences in respondents knowledge/skills before/after CME in areas such as: performing a shoulder injection (p=.005); performing a hip injection (p=.051); and performing office-based physiotherapy techniques (p=.003). Conclusions A number of respondents indicated that the program has increased their confidence in performing the skills identified, and some reported altering their techniques to improve their success rates and relief for patients. Additionally, respondents felt the hands-on experiences were beneficial in skill development and understanding various concepts. It was indicated by respondents that the program format (i.e. more demonstration and opportunity for hands-on experiences) influenced their ability to apply the knowledge/skills learned from this program in their practices.

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