Karlinsky H, Dunn C, Clifford B, Atkins J, Pachev G, Cunningham K, Fenrich P, Bayani Y. Workplace injury management: using new technology to deliver and evaluate physician continuing medical education. J Occup Rehabil 2006 [epub November 30 2006]
Objective: Physicians typically receive little continuing medical education (CME) about their role in workplace injury management as well as on workplace injuries and disease. Although new technologies may help educate physicians in these areas, careful evaluation is required, given the understudied nature of these interventions. The objective of this study is to evaluate two promising new technologies to deliver CME (online learning and videoconferencing) and to compare the effectiveness of these delivery methods to traditional CME interventions (large urban traditional conference lectures and small group local face-to-face outreach) in their impact on physician knowledge related to workplace injury management.
Methods: This study utilized a prospective, controlled evaluation of two educational programs for BC physicians:
1) The Diagnosis and Management of Lateral Epicondylitis; and
2) Is Return-to-Work Good Medicine?
Each educational module was delivered in each of four ways (Outreach Visit, Videoconference Session, Conference Lecture, Online) and physicians self-selected their participation-both in terms of topic and delivery method. Questionnaires related to knowledge as well as learner attitude and satisfaction were administered prior (pre-test) and following (post-test) all educational sessions.
Results: 581 physician encounters occurred as a result of the educational interventions and a significant percentage of the physicians participated in the research per se (i.e. there were 358 completed sets of pre-test and post-test ‘Knowledge’ questionnaires). Overall the results showed that the developed training programs increased physicians’ knowledge of both Lateral Epicondylitis and the physician’s role in Return-To-Work planning as reflected in improved post-test performance when compared to pre-test scores. Furthermore, videoconferencing and online training were at least as effective as conference lectures and instructor-led small group outreach sessions in their impact on physician knowledge.
Conclusions: Use of effective videoconferencing and online learning activities will increase physician access to quality CME related to workplace injury management and will overcome access barriers intrinsic to types of CME interventions based on instructor-student face-to-face interactions.
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