June 2006

Document Type


Degree Name



Dept. of Public Health and Preventive Medicine


Oregon Health & Science University


Physicians who have completed training and are deemed qualified to practice are expected to maintain competency and consequently spend a considerable amount of time engaged in continuing medical education (CME). Studies have shown that change in physician behavior is more likely to occur when a meaningful assessment of physicians' learning needs serves as the basis for determining the content of CME. In addition national health care concerns have led to the emergence of maintenance of certification (MOC) as a means to ensure the competence of practicing physicians. The objectives of this study were to assess Oregon physicians' motives for participating in CME and their preferences for CME program format and to study the influence of MOC on their attitudes and preferences. We mailed surveys to a random sample of licensed, practicing physicians in the state of Oregon. The survey contained questions on preferred source and format of CME, motivation for participating in CME, board certification status, awareness of requirements for MOC, factors influencing the decision to participate in MOC, and resources available and desired to assist with MOC. Three hundred seventy six surveys were returned for a response proportion of 50%.@Ninety-one percent of survey respondents were board certified and 95% of the physicians who had time-limited certificates planned to recertify in their specialty. The factors most often rated extremely important in physicians' decisions to recertify were "demonstrate expertise in my specialty" (50%), "demonstrate that my medical knowledge is up to date" (52%), and "demonstrate my competency to provide patient care in my specialty" (51%). Keeping up on the latest medical information and research was the most important reason for participating in CME for 73% of respondents. Generally physicians preferred traditional forms of CME. Medical specialty association meetings were the most preferred source of CME activity (72% ), although other traditional didactic activities such as update or review courses, journals, and hospital sponsored grand rounds were also popular. Traditional knowledge-based CME programming was selected as more helpful for MOC than any other option. Regression analysis revealed the importance of type of physician practice as a predictor for CME format preference even after controlling for location of practice, participation in a MOC program, gender, and age. These findings are important for medical educators and CME program planners. One strategy for future program development will be to integrate studied and effective educational methods into traditional CME programs. Further research should evaluate the effectiveness of this hybrid approach. In addition, as physicians respond to the new educational and regulatory environment in which they practice and learn, it will be important to monitor changes in their motivations and preferences for CME activities.




School of Medicine



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