Can An Online Educational Activity Change Clinical Practice?

A recent article published in the journal CE Measure: The Journal of Outcomes Measurement in Continuing Healthcare Education describes a study to measure the effectiveness of a CME TV broadcast/webcast in addressing gaps in knowledge and clinical competence about sleep-wake disorders.

The needs assessment demonstrated clinician related gaps in the systematic assessment of patients for sleep related complaints, furthering uncovering that when excessive sleepiness was detected, clinicians often do little to probe for and identify the underlying cause. In response to this educational need, CME Outfitters, LLC  designed, implemented an educational activity that targeted sleep wake disorders.

A panel presentation of 3 expert faculty representing various specialties with an interest in sleep medicine (i.e., sleep specialists, primary care clinician) discussed clinically relevant, evidence-based topics and focused on translation of evidence into practice. The goal was to affect a positive shift in knowledge, skills, attitude, and performance in the clinicians who participated in the program. All participants in the CME activity (n = 1186) were invited to participate in post activity questionnaires. A small pool (n=14) of opt-in registrants were randomly selected to take part in pre-activity and post-activity interviews.


In immediate post-activity questionnaires, 90% of respondents to the posttest (n = 824) correctly answered all 3 knowledge items regarding assessment, and 95% of respondents correctly answered 4 of the 5 knowledge questions regarding diagnostic tools. 72% of participants planned to change their clinical behavior following the activity. In the 2-week post-activity questionnaire, 56% expressed intent to use at least 2 of the formal, standardized assessment tools presented in the program, and 55% expressed intent to increase referrals for sleep consults.

In the 2-month post-activity interviews, respondents reported increased awareness of triggers for assessment of sleep-wake disorders (especially cardiovascular comorbidities), increased knowledge of the potential health impact of sleep-wake disorders (especially cardiovascular disease), and most importantly, increased frequency in proactively assessing patients for sleep-wake disorders, and increased knowledge of appropriate assessment questions to ask patients.

The positive impact of this activity on knowledge and awareness of identification, diagnosis, and management of sleep-wake disorders suggests overall effectiveness of the activity. The authors, who included Monique Johnson, MD from CME Outfitters, LLC, concluded that these findings suggest the effectiveness of a CME TV broadcast/webcast in addressing gaps in knowledge and clinical competence and the realistic impact of this single activity in affecting practice change and providing direction for future educational interventions in this therapeutic area.

Hayes S, Cytryn K, Johnson M, Roth T, Murray S. Sleep-Wake Disorders: Can a CME Panel Discussion Activity Improve Clinical Practice? CE Meas. 2010;4:68-73

Sleep Program
The Complexities of Managing Patients with Sleep-Wake Disorders: The Need to Treat the Whole Patient

Recent programs on Sleep Disorders

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