Can Internet-based continuing medical education improve physicians' skin cancer knowledge and skills?

J Gen Intern Med. 2001 Jan;16(1):50-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1497.2001.00615.x.


We sought to determine whether an Internet-based continuing medical education (CME) program could improve physician confidence, knowledge, and clinical skills in managing pigmented skin lesions. The CME program provided an interactive, customized learning experience and incorporated well-established guidelines for recognizing malignant melanoma. During a 6-week evaluation period, 354 physicians completed the on-line program as well as a pretest and an identical posttest. Use of the CME program was associated with significant improvements in physician confidence, correct answers to a 10-question knowledge test (52% vs 85% correct), and correct answers to a 15-question clinical skills test (81% vs 90% correct). We found that the overall improvement in clinical skills was due to a marked increase in specificity and a small decrease in sensitivity for evaluating pigmented lesions. User satisfaction was extremely high. This popular and easily distributed online CME program increased physicians' confidence and knowledge of skin cancer. Remaining challenges include improving the program to increase physician sensitivity for evaluating pigmented lesions while preserving the enhanced specificity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Computer-Assisted Instruction*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Melanoma*
  • Skin Neoplasms*