Background: There is a broad need to improve physician continuing medical education (CME) in the management of intimate partner violence (IPV). However, there are only a few examples of successful IPV CME programs, and none of these are suitable for widespread distribution.
Design: Randomized controlled trial beginning in September 2003 and ending in November 2004. Data were analyzed in 2005.
Setting/participants: Fifty-two primary care physicians in small (fewer than eight physicians), community-based medical offices in Arizona and Missouri.
Intervention: Twenty-three physicians completed a minimum of 4 hours of an asynchronous, multi-media, interactive, case-based, online CME program that provided them flexibility in constructing their educational experience ("constructivism"). Control physicians received no CME.
Main outcome measures: Scores on a standardized self-reported survey, composed of ten scales of IPV knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and self-reported behaviors (KABB) administered before randomization and repeated at 6 and 12 months following the CME program.
Results: Use of the online CME program was associated with a significant improvement in eight of ten KABB outcomes, including physician self-efficacy and reported IPV management practices, over the study period. These measures did not improve in the control group.
Conclusions: The Internet-based CME program was clearly effective in improving long-term individual educational outcomes, including self-reported IPV practices. This type of CME may be an effective and less costly alternative to live IPV training sessions and workshops.