Dissertation Abstract

A Descriptive Survey Study of Los Angeles County Physician-Perceived Expectations of Continuing Medical Education

Publication Number:  AAT0556106
Author:  Rogers, Anna Louise Millard
School:  University of Southern California
Date:  1985
Pages:  0
Subject:  Adult Education, Continuing Education

While continuing medical education (CME) in the United States has become a growing industry in terms of cost and mandatory attendance requirements, little evidence has been presented to show such programs have attended to the learning needs of the participants or have brought about a significant improvement in patient care. The content of these programs should be updated and restructured in response to the changing economic, political, social, and technological environments, and the method of instruction and program development should utilize principles of adult education to more effectively meet the CME needs of physicians who must adapt their medical practice to meet the demands of a changing society.

A descriptive survey was performed whereby a questionnaire was mailed to a random sample of internal medicine, family practice, and general practice physicians in Los Angeles County to obtain the following information: (1) general background information, (2) general perceptions of CME including an assessment of the impact of specific areas of change upon the practice of medicine, (3) physician-perceived needs regarding CME, and (4) physicians' views concerning the responsibility for CME program development and implementation. Additionally, a 10 minute telephone interview consisting of selected questions in re-worded form was utilized to test for validity of the answers given on the questionnaire.

A total of 297 questionnaires were received for a total percentage return of 51%. Some correlations (p < .05) were evident between the number of annual hours spent in formal CME activities and the perception of its effectiveness; between time spent in practice and the choice of three areas of environmental change as being most influential upon the practice of medicine; and between time spent in practice and the perceived usefulness of two proposed CME courses.

The changing economic environment was selected as having the greatest impact upon the practice of medicine, and advances in technology was selected as the most beneficial proposed CME course. A valid percentage of 64.7% of the respondents believed these proposed non-biomedical science courses should be included into the CME curriculum, and further information is available with regard to these preferences as a function of time spent in practice. Additional data is also available concerning categorization of the proposed courses according to their potential benefit, and with regard to physician preference for CME regulation and evaluation.

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