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Lower costs, convenience drive growth of CME online

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Over the next several years physicians will increasingly turn to the Internet for continuing medical education courses, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions.

In the study, researchers analyzed 11 years of data from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education and a survey of 272 publicly available CME Web sites. They found:

  • Online CME is less than 10 percent of the CME that U.S. physicians consume annually, but the growth rate is exponential.
  • Within 7 years online CME is likely to comprise 50 percent of all CME consumed in the United States
  • Most online CME is prepared by commercial education companies and is distributed to physicians for free or at a very low cost.

In addition to online courses, some CME providers such as Medscape are currently, or are considering, offering content for mobile devices. It will be interesting to see how the the introduction of the growth of CME courses online and on mobile devices may facilitate broader changes in medical education.

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