MANUSCRIPT: Effectiveness of Continuing Medical Education (2007 AHRQ Report)
Results: Of the 68,000 citations identified by literature searching, 136 articles and 9 systematic reviews ultimately met our eligibility criteria. The overall quality of the literature was low and consequently firm conclusions were not possible. Despite this, the literature overall supported the concept that CME was effective, at least to some degree, in achieving and maintaining the objectives studied, including knowledge (22 of 28 studies), attitudes (22 of 26), skills (12 of 15), practice behavior (61 of 105), and clinical practice outcomes (14 of 33). Common themes included that live media was more effective than print, multimedia was more effective than single media interventions, and multiple exposures were more effective than a single exposure. The number of articles that addressed internal and/or external characteristics of CME activities was too small and the studies too heterogeneous to determine if any of these are crucial for CME success. Evidence was limited on the reliability and validity of the tools that have been used to assess CME effectiveness. Based on previous reviews, the evidence indicates that simulation methods in medical education are effective in the dissemination of psychomotor and procedural skills.