The Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, Volume 17, pp. 114­120. Printed in the U.S.A. Copyright ©1997 The Alliance for Continuing Medical Education, the Society of Medical College Directors of Continuing Medical Education, and the Council on CME,
Association for Hospital Medical Education. All rights reserved.

Innovations in Continuing Education

Computer-Assisted Self-Directed Learning: The Future of Continuing Medical Education


Department of Medicine
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to determine physicians' prior experience with computers, access to computers and on-line resources, and interest in computer-assisted continuing medical education (CACME). A survey was conducted among a random sample of primary care physicians in early 1995, with 102 respondents. Most physicians (78.4%) reported prior computer use, and 37.3% have used computers for self-study. Most respondents (76.5%) also have access to a personal computer, many with a modem (44.1%), CD-ROM (41.2%), or on-line service (36.3%). Approximately half of physicians (48.5%) indicated that they would be interested in CACME if they could use a computer to which they already have access. An additional 31.3% would be willing to invest in a computer or computer upgrade. Physicians demonstrated greater interest in CACME if they had prior experience with computers, access to a personal computer or on-line service, or had previously received credit for CACME. The results indicate that most physicians are currently interested in computer-based CME. With the continued growth of CD-ROM, Internet, and World Wide Web (WWW) technology, CME providers have an opportunity to reach a large percentage of physicians, particularly those in rural areas.

Key Words: CD-ROM, computer-assisted instruction (CAI), continuing medical education (CME), Internet, physician survey, World Wide Web (WWW)

Reprint requests: Sunil Kripalani, MD, Center for Cancer Control Research, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, ST924, Houston, TX 77030.