Examining the Ins and Outs of CME: A Comprehensive Analysis of a Catalog of CME Activities for Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis

Stephanie A. Stowell, Alok A. Khorana, Carolyn A. Berry, Liza King, Rachel Bongiorno Karcher


Background: The components that produce effective continuing medical education (CME) activities are inadequately defined and poorly understood. In an attempt to provide clarity surrounding the factors that affect the delivery process and the efficacy of educational efforts, we undertook an in-depth study of a catalog of CME activities for venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis produced between 2007 and 2010.

Methods: Four aspects of CME activities were examined: (1) change in clinician performance, (2) retention of knowledge and confidence over time, (3) impact of platform type, and (4) impact of frequency of exposure to CME activities.

Results: Outcomes information from 27 CME activities was available for 1549 participants who met the study criteria. The results demonstrated that Web-based CME activities were associated with clinician improvements in patient-related processes of care: Participants were more likely to prescribe VTE prophylaxis within guideline-recommended time frames and to provide prophylaxis measures to surgical patients at the time of hospital discharge. Postactivity confidence remained significant over the long term, with relatively less retention of gained knowledge. Participants of live meetings had the greatest knowledge gains, compared with participants of other platforms. Knowledge gains appeared to increase with up to 4 activity exposures. Although the greatest change in knowledge occurred after 1 activity exposure, knowledge was most affected over time after exposure to 2 interactive activities.

Conclusion: These results offer a clearer picture of the factors necessary for providing effective and behavior-changing CME, which is a component essential to a clinician’s practice.

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