Objectives: The purposes of this study were to explore the perceived barriers and challenges to continuing professional education (CPE) access for Canadian health care professionals and to identify best practices for improving access to CPE.
Design: Key informant interviews and Web-based online surveys were conducted.
Participants: Key informant interviews were conducted with national CPE accreditation bodies and health professional associations. An online survey was distributed to health professional education programs, as well as provincial professional associations, licensing and professional regulatory bodies.
Main outcome measures: The perceived barriers and challenges to CPE access for Canadian health care professionals and best practices for improving access to CPE.
Results and conclusions: Geographic isolation and poor technological and telecommunications infrastructure were identified as key barriers to CPE delivery and access. Financial factors, such as funding to support travel or cost of attendance, were also identified as major challenges. Tele-education programming was identified as a best practice approach to improve CPE access, as were regional CPE activities and self-directed learning programs. Employer-sponsored initiatives, including staff coverage or locum support, remuneration for time off and paid travel expenses for CPE participation were also identified as best practice approaches.