The overwhelming majority of both specialists and PCPs report that they attend live meetings primarily to learn about current
treatment options and new therapies. In contrast, online and print-based CME are evolving into media that physicians use to
probe deeper into topics and to reinforce learning introduced at conferences. For instance, they tend to look to print for
updates on new practice guidelines, whereas they use online CME to find more in-depth clinical information about specific
Broad vs. Narrow
According to the Pri-Med research, specialists and PCPs feel that a CME meeting should have both a broad-based curriculum
covering a wide range of clinical topics and a more narrowly focused curriculum concentrating on one area of interest. Physicians
also have distinct educational objectives in mind for each curriculum type. PCPs tend to gravitate toward programs with broad
curriculums, as they mirror their wide patient population. But it is interesting to note that 60 percent of specialists feel
that a broad overview helps them stay up to date on the developments in their individual specialities while enabling them
to take a whole-body approach to treatment.
Physicians look to narrowly focused curriculums for in-depth clinical information about select topics. This format appears
best suited for educational messages that involve discussions of new science relating to emerging conditions or health issues,
or for focusing on therapies that are difficult to administer or have population-specific nuances. Because of the educational
value of this type of curriculum, 60 percent of PCPs and nearly 80 percent of specialists appreciate this focus in the sessions
they attend. CME providers could use information gathered about physicians to customize the right mix of broad and narrow
topics to provide an optimal CME program for participants' needs.
All signs seem to indicate that CME will continue to play a vital role in getting the most practical and timely medical advances
into the minds of physicians. But, if CME providers want it to stay this way, they must not only strive to motivate doctors
to attend conferences, read print pieces, and participate in e-CME activities, but also work to ensure that those participants
are satisfied with the time they spend doing so. By using research to understand distinct physician needs, CME providers can
offer a diverse spectrum of educational programs that are more meaningful to more physicians—and ultimately, to their patients.
Anne Goodrich is the director of Physician Insights. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org