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Continuing education meetings and workshops: effects on professional practice and health care outcomes (Review)

In this update, we examined the effects of continuing education meetings on professional practice and patient outcomes. We also investigated factors that might influence the effectiveness of educational meetings. We used methods that have been developed by the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care (EPOC) Group (Grimshaw 2003) since the previous review ( O’Brien 2001). These methods were used in other recent EPOC reviews (Doumit 2007; Jamtvedt 2006; O’Brien 2007). The provision of printed educational materials has been reported to have little or no effect, in two reviews (Freemantle 1997; Grimshaw 2001), but this finding has been questioned in a more recent review (Grimshaw 2004). Because printed materials are usually an integral part of educational meetings, we chose to consider printed educational materials as a component of educational meetings and not as an additional independent intervention. Few studies have tested educational meetings without any printed educational materials (Grimshaw 2004).

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Brian is a research scientist and educational technologist. He helped transform Pfizer’s Medical Education Group and previously served in educational leadership roles at HealthAnswers, Inc.; Acumentis, LLC.; Cephalon; and Wyeth. He taught graduate medical education programs at Arcadia University for 10 years. Dr. McGowan recently authored the book "#socialQI: Simple Solutions for Improving Your Healthcare" and has been invited to speak internationally on the subject of information flow, technology, and learning in healthcare.

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