Small-group CME using e-mail discussions. Can it work?

Journal Article (Clinical Trial;Journal Article)

PROBLEM BEING ADDRESSED: Traditional continuing medical education (CME) approaches do not work well in changing physicians' behaviour, but some promising strategies and technologies might help. Our program sought to meld small-group learning with an Internet e-mail approach. OBJECTIVE OF PROGRAM: In 1994, the Family medicine Education and Research Network (FERN) was developed to support on-line discussion among London, Ont, and area family physicians. To support educational, moderated case discussions using e-mail, FERN Dissemination (FERN-D) was introduced to a subgroup of participants. We hoped to increase awareness and use of evidence-based research in clinical practice and to increase use of Internet-based resources for CME. The target group was family physicians in the London area. MAIN COMPONENTS OF PROGRAM: Forty volunteers were recruited and were e-mailed one case every 2 weeks; 34 completed the study. Each case was followed by further postings and, at the end of 2 weeks, by a summary of the group's discussion. Background material for each case was researched and was evidence-based. Evaluation was conducted using preintervention and postintervention mailed surveys combined with an e-mail feedback questionnaire and a modified focus group. CONCLUSION: On-line case-based discussion is a promising strategy for encouraging family physicians to access current research. More research is needed to determine whether it can be effectively used to change physicians' practice.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Marshall, JN; Stewart, M; Ostbye, T

Published Date

  • March 2001

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 47 /

Start / End Page

  • 557 - 563

PubMed ID

  • 11281090

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC2018401

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0008-350X


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Canada