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Study Assesses Knowledge Gains for SGIM Meeting Attendees


In September 2006, the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education issued criteria to be phased in from 2008-2012 that challenge continuing medical education (CME) providers to employ “assessment or measurement tools… to analyze changes in strategy, performance, or patient outcomes achieved as a result of (their) activities/educational interventions.” This pilot study assessed the feasibility of surveys to measure the impact of CME provided at the 2006 SGIM (Society of General Internal Medicine) Annual Meeting on both short- and long-term educational outcomes. Investigators assessed responses to a brief questionnaire administered to SGIM meeting participants who attended one research pre-course, one research methods workshop, and/or one clinical workshop. Survey questions were administered at three points: 1) shortly after the registration deadline (participants = 39), 2) immediately following the CME activity (participants = 89), and 3), nine months after the meeting (participants = 61).

Findings show that all three sessions showed initial gains in knowledge: the research pre-course gain was large; the clinical workshop gain was moderate; and the research methods workshop gain was modest. Two of the three sessions showed a decrease in knowledge over the subsequent 9 months: the research pre-course decrease was moderate; the clinical workshop’s decrease was small; while the research workshop had a large gain in knowledge levels over the subsequent 9 months. Thus the authors conclude that it is possible to administer a semi-automated process for assessing the short-and long-term knowledge gains from a sample of national meeting sessions. However, they caution that even for a small sample this process requires a significant amount of effort and time for both meeting staff and volunteers that raises questions about the feasibility of tracking learning and retention following a national meeting.

PubMed Logo Weiner S, Jackson J, and Garten S. Measuring continuing medical education outcomes: A pilot study of effect size of three CME interventions at an SGIM annual meeting. Journal of General Internal Medicine May 2009;24(5):626-629.

This study was funded by HSR&D. Dr. Weiner is part of HSR&D’s Center for the Management of Complex Chronic Care, Hines IL.

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HSR&D requires notification by HSR&D-funded investigators about all articles accepted for publication. These journal articles are reviewed by HSR&D and publication briefs or summaries are written for a select number of articles that are then forwarded to VHA Central Office leadership to keep them informed about important findings or information. Articles to be summarized are selected by HSR&D based on timeliness of the findings, interest of leadership, or potential impact on the organization. Publication briefs are written for only a small number of HSR&D published articles. Visit the HSR&D citations database for a complete listing of HSR&D articles and presentations.