Purpose To explore what influences clinicians in selecting continuing medical education (CME) activities in the United States. Method In August 2018, the authors conducted an Internet-based national survey, sampling 100 respondents from each of 5 groups: family medicine physicians, internal medicine and hospitalist physicians, medicine specialist physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. In total, 1,895 clinicians were invited and 500 (26%) responded. Questions addressed the selection and anticipated use of CME delivery modalities and perceived characteristics of specific CME providers. Response formats used best-worst scaling or 5-point ordinal response options. Results The factors identified as most important in selecting CME activities were topic (best-worst scaling net positivity 0.54), quality of content (0.51), availability of CME credit (0.43), and clinical practice focus (0.41), while referral frequency (-0.57) ranked lowest. The activities that the respondents anticipated using most in the future were live (mean 3.8 [1 = not likely, 5 = very likely]), online (mean 3.5), point-of-care (mean 3.5), and print-based (mean 3.5) activities. For online CME, the features of greatest appeal were that learning could be done when clinicians had time (mean 4.4), at their own pace (mean 4.2), and at lower cost (mean 4.2). For live CME, the features of greatest appeal were that the subject was best taught using this modality (mean 4.0), or the activity was located in a destination spot (mean 4.0) or a regional location (mean 3.9). When rating specific CME providers, most academic institutions received relatively high ratings for research focus and clinical practice focus, whereas commercial providers had slightly higher ratings for ease of access. Responses were generally similar across clinician types and age groups. Conclusions Physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants are interested in using a variety of CME delivery modalities. Appealing features of online and live CME were different.
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