April 1998 Bulletin

Earning CME credit at home

Survey finds more physicians are turning to Internet sources

Physicians are spending more time in their homes and offices earning CME credits than they had in the past and less time traveling to meetings, according to a survey in the January/February 1998 issue of Medical Meetings magazine.

The fifth annual survey found 15 percent said they obtained CME credit through the Internet or CD-ROM, compared with 3 percent the previous year. The survey of 309 physicians in active medical practice who had earned the AMA’s Physician Recognition Award was conducted for the October 1996 to September 1997 period.

Twenty-two percent of CME credits was earned by reading journals, compared with 15 percent a year earlier. Thirty-eight percent of the CME credit was earned at meetings requiring travel vs. 45 percent in the previous survey. Forty-two percent said they plan to attend two or more out-of-town meetings in the following 12 months; down from 54 percent a year earlier.

The top factors influencing a decision to attend an out-of-town meeting are geographic location (California and Florida topped the list), speaker reputation and time away from home/office (most respondents preferred weekend meetings that start on Fridays).

Among factors influencing a physician’s decision to attend a meeting requiring travel, the biggest year-to-year gainer as a factor, is "sponsor reputation." According to the Medical Meetings article, "as the undeclared hostilities between for-profit and nonprofit CME providers heat up, this could become significant. Or, it may be that some providers regardless of their profit status, are finally learning how to better differentiate themselves from their competitors.

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