Barriers to innovation in continuing medical education

Elizabeth A. Bower, Donald E. Girard, Kristen Wessel, Thomas M. Becker, Dongseok Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Introduction: Criteria for maintenance of certification (MOC) emphasize the importance of competencies such as communication, professionalism, systems-based care, and practice performance in addition to medical knowledge. Success of this new competency paradigm is dependent on physicians' willingness to engage in activities that focus on less traditional competencies. We undertook this analysis to determine whether physicians' preferences for CME are barriers to participation in innovative programs. Methods: A geographically stratified, random sample of 755 licensed, practicing physicians in the state of Oregon were surveyed regarding their preferences for type of CME offering and instructional method and plans to recertify. Results: Three hundred seventy-six of 755 surveys were returned for ±5% margin of error at 95% confidence level; 91% of respondents were board certified. Traditional types of CME offerings and instructional methods were preferred by the majority of physicians. Academic physicians were less likely than clinical physicians to prefer nontraditional types of CME offerings and instructional methods. Multiple regression analyses did not reveal any significant differences based on demography, practice location, or physician practice type. Discussion: Physicians who participate in CME select educational opportunities that appeal to them. There is little attraction to competency-based educational activities despite their requirement for MOC. The apparent disparity between the instructional methods a learner prefers and those that are the most effective in changing physician behavior may represent a barrier to participating in more innovative CME offerings and instructional methods. These findings are important for medical educators and CME program planners developing programs that integrate studied and effective educational methods into CME programs that are attractive to physicians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-156
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Continuing medical education
  • Participation
  • Performance in practice
  • Preferences
  • Survey barriers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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