Barriers to Identifying and Obtaining CME: A National Survey of Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, and Physician Assistants

BMC Medical Education (03/19/2021) Pott, Maureen O'Brien; Blanshan, Anissa S.; Huneke, Kelly M.; et al.

A survey of 500 licensed U.S. clinicians characterized the challenges they face in seeking continuing medical education (CME), as well as time and monetary commitments for such activities. The target sample constituted 100 respondents from each of five categories: family medicine physicians, internal medicine and hospitalist physicians, physicians in other internal medicine subspecialties, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. The biggest pain point was expense, cited by 68% of respondents, then travel time (57%), discovering and searching for appropriate CME offerings (29%), and topics inapplicable to daily practice (27%). The only statistically significant difference in obstacles across clinician types was among age groups, with people aged 60 years and older (82%) more likely to name expense than those younger than 40 (60%). The majority of respondents (70%) said searching online was their primary information source for CME activities. In terms of allotted time allowed for CME, 60% of respondents cited 1-6 days per year, while 53% said yearly financial CME support averaged $1,000-$5,000. Respondents cited location, cost, publicity, number of options, flexibility, ease of use and accessibility, clinical relevance, and encouragement of application as areas needing improvement. "Those who organize and market CME should explore options that reduce barriers of time and money, and creatively use online tools to publicize new offerings," the authors recommended.

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