Information technology  

Online learning threatens live CME events

5 Oct 2005

The rise in electronic continuing medical education (eCME) has fuelled speculation that the technology will eventually eliminate the need for live events. However, a new study by Cutting Edge Information shows that pharmaceutical companies are showing no signs of ceasing their support for live CME events.

Besides compliance, technology has arguably been the next biggest driver of CME evolution in the pharmaceutical industry. Regardless, the industry recognizes the advantages of live events compared to education delivered online through Web seminars or Podcasts. In fact, Cutting Edge found that 78.5% of surveyed companies' annual CME budgets are allocated for live events compared to only 19.3% for eCME.

Most interviewed executives indicated that live events showed more promise for directly impacting medical behaviour and learning. (See "Pharmaceutical Executive" article addressing the prevalence of live CME events)

"Our data shows that although eCME is on the rise, pharmaceutical executives should not discount the reality that live events are preferred more by physicians than are eCME opportunities," said Senior Research Analyst Elio Evangelista. "For now, the proof is in the numbers — more pharmaceutical companies are relying on live events to satisfy CME goals."

eCME is a technology coming into its own in the pharmaceutical industry and participation continues to grow among physicians. Although eCME will not replace live events, many industry experts feel it may become the perfect complement to live programs and an adequate substitute for physicians who cannot travel to live events.

"Pharmaceutical CME: Measuring Program Effectiveness in the Compliance Environment" provides solutions to the top challenges faced by CME departments on a daily basis, including: performance measurement, grants process standardization and improvement * The effect of compliance guidelines on CME strategy, and structural separation between commercial and medical operations. 

A summary of the report can be downloaded from Cutting Edge.

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