Magazine article Information Today

CME on the World Wide Web, Part II

Magazine article Information Today

CME on the World Wide Web, Part II

Article excerpt

Steve Smith is vice president and editorial director for Medscape (, a professional medical-information resource on the World Wide Web. His e-mail address is

Health-care researchers as well as clinicians can benefit from these sites

As I began to describe in the last column (November 1998 issue of IT), Continuing Medical Education (CME) resources on the Internet are highly valuable for a broad audience. Physicians in most specialties are required to log CME hours on an ongoing basis. For nonphysicians, CME resources can be highly valuable because they often describe the background science of the disease and treatment process, as well as the approach to caring for the patient. As such, they represent an excellent general medical resource besides being a teaching tool for clinicians. This column continues a review and description of some of the better online CME resources.


American Health Consultants ported their journal-based CME to the Web to create this offering. Each CMEWeb program consists of a collection of three literature reviews and one clinical article. Each review or article is followed by a CME test question. The collections don't center on a particular topic, but instead cover unrelated items of importance to the specialty. If you miss a question on the test, the program will link you back to the content the question was derived from. You keep trying until you achieve a passing score.

Each four-question test costs $15 and is good for 1.5 hours of CME. Registration, payment, and reporting are all handled online. The certificate is e-mailed to the participant. You must register to access the site--no auditing of materials and tests is allowed. There is a demo for review before registration.


InterMDnet's Cyberounds program offers up to 50 hours of CME for an annual fee of $125. This is a fully electronic program: payment, registration, testing, and result reporting are all done online. Physicians can also track the number of credits awarded on the site, and the program is accredited by Albert Einstein College of Medicine. You can audit the rounds (i.e., read the material), but only registrants can see the test questions.

Each "Round" (reflective of the teaching rounds made in university hospitals) is in monograph format, written by content experts. To expand the value of the monographs, each is linked to a threaded discussion (not a live chat) in which participants can post questions to the author or make comments on the content. A good discussion can replicate the feel of a live conference where attendees often learn from the questions others ask. In reality, most physicians aren't engaging in online discussions. Discussions are only available on current rounds and don't appear to be archived from prior rounds.

Some of the rounds have an interactive aspect. Several, for example, ask the reader to submit a diagnosis based on the case presentation before they can proceed to the discussion. These are fun and make for more effective learning. However, the programming isn't smart enough to recognize variable entries. For example, "Doppler ultrasound" and "venous ultrasound" aren't recognized as correct entries for "venous Doppler," so you have to be a little forgiving.

There is good breadth of available content. Many of the modules are from 1996 and 1997, but a fair selection are from 1998. Topics include the following:

* Cardiovascular Medicine

* Emergency Medicine

* Endocrinology

* Gastroenterology

* Geriatrics

* Health Law and Bioethics

* Hematology/Oncology

* Infectious Diseases

* Medical Genetics

* Nephrology

* Nutrition

* Psychiatry/Neuroscience

* Pulmonary Medicine

* Rheumatology

* Women's Health

The site sends a weekly e-mail to subscribers informing of current rounds and discussions. …

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