Some types of CME seem to be more effective than others and researchers are trying to understand why. Saul Weiner, MD, deputy director at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center and associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, along with his colleagues, set out to explore this question.
They asked three CME providers presenting at a national Society of General Internal Medicine meeting to develop questions to assess what participants knew and felt about a particular subject before, immediately after, and nine months after a CME intervention. Participants were asked these questions immediately after the CME session and nine months later.
Participants in all three sessions demonstrated that they had gained knowledge immediately following the session.
Those who participated in a 90-minute session on research methods reported a modest gain in knowledge, whereas those who participated in an eight-hour research precourse experienced a large gain. A 90-minute clinical workshop produced a moderate gain in knowledge.
But participants in two of three sessions reported that they did not retain that knowledge after nine months.
"We don't know why there is variation, but with this small study, we can show that there is variation," says Weiner.