Embracing Digital Education During COVID-19 Crisis

Brand Insights - Thought Leadership | Paid Program

As the world of medicine continues to face the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians are increasingly looking to digital solutions, including continuing medical education (CME), to stay current on the latest developments in their field.

As the world of medicine continues to face the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians are increasingly looking to digital solutions, including continuing medical education (CME), to stay current on the latest developments in their field. Clinicians expect to lean into digital more than ever—according to McKinsey, 93% of physicians expect to use digital tools for clinical-decision support, and 90% of clinicians expect to use digital learning solutions the same or a greater or significantly greater amount after the COVID-19 crisis.

Virtual conferences

A major change in the medical community has been the cancellation of live conferences and events and the shift to virtual events. A majority of physicians (60%) expect that they will not attend live meetings for more than one year, and 64% of physicians are likely to participate in an online version of a national meeting.1

While this switch presents a change to how clinicians are accustomed to learning, there are new opportunities realized with the shift to digital conferences. With digital, many of the barriers that clinicians faced in regard to conference attendance—cost, travel, time away from practice—are less of a factor in participation. Virtual events provide an increased level of convenience and accessibility, and provide worldwide networking capabilities.

Digital CME

In the same way that events are moving to digital, clinicians are embracing digital CME as well. Seventy-four percent of physicians agree that online CME is more important for clinical practice during the COVID-19 pandemic than it was previously.1 Digital CME is powerful in its ability to be flexible and accessible in a way that allows clinicians to learn on their own terms and incorporate education into their busy practice schedules.

Digital CME enables “just-in-time” education—reaching clinicians right at the moment that they need the information. This has been apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic as the Medscape Education COVID-19 Learning Center has provided needed, timely information to members, reaching over one million learners across 50-plus CME/CE/MOC programs focused on assessing, managing, and treating COVID-19.

The power of Digital CME

Digital education has the potential for strong reach and accessibility, but it is important to ensure that the education solution can make a positive impact on the learner and ultimately, patient outcomes. A 2020 peer-reviewed study published in collaboration with the FDA by Pharm Practice demonstrates the power of Medscape digital education to positively impact public health. The study examines the efficacy of targeted short-form messaging and CME aimed at reducing overprescribing of fluoroquinolone antibiotics. The study examined nearly 24,000 high prescribers of fluoroquinolones and divided 11,774 into three treatment groups to evaluate and measure the effectiveness of communication and education methodology:

• Group 1: Received short-form targeted messaging only (n = 8,895)

• Group 2: Received CME activity only (n = 1,756)

• Group 3: Received both short-form targeted messaging and CME (n = 1,123)

The trial featured a case-matched control group (n = 11,774) and results were stated against that comparator population. The study demonstrated the statistically significant impact of digital CME (with or without messaging) to reduce inappropriate clinical behavior.

A commitment to digital CME

Medscape is the leading provider of digital CME worldwide, according to DRG Digital’s Taking The Pulse® US, 2020. As an alternative to in-person events, Medscape Education provides a variety of digital live education solutions, including Virtual Symposia: livestreamed virtual events where expert faculty present on multispecialty topics. Virtual Symposia events have the potential to reach a large, engaged, global audience by being accessible and interactive, and providing the content that clinician learners seek.

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1. Medscape internal data. Multiple studies. April, May 2020