A survey of the current utilization of asynchronous education among emergency medicine residents in the United States

Acad Med. 2014 Apr;89(4):598-601. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000170.


Problem: Medical education is transitioning from traditional learning methods. Resident interest in easily accessible education materials is forcing educators to reevaluate teaching methodology.

Approach: To determine emergency medicine residents' current methods of and preferences for obtaining medical knowledge, the authors created a survey and sent it to residents, at all levels of training throughout the United States, whose e-mail addresses were available via their residency's official Web site (June-December 2012). The eight-question voluntary survey asked respondents about demographics, their use of extracurricular time, and the materials they perceived as most beneficial. The authors used descriptive statistics to analyze results.

Outcomes: Of the 401 residents who received the e-mailed survey, 226 (56.3%) completed it. Of these, 97.7% reported spending at least one hour per week engaging in extracurricular education, and 34.5% reported spending two to four hours per week (P < .001). Time listening to podcasts was the most popular (reported by 35.0% of residents), followed by reading textbooks (33.6%) and searching Google (21.4%; P < .001). Residents endorsed podcasts as the most beneficial (endorsed by 70.3%) compared with textbooks (endorsed by 54.3%), journals (36.5%), and Google (33.8%; P < .001). Most respondents reported evaluating the quality of evidence or reviewing references "rarely" or less than half the time. A majority (80.0%) selected the topics they accessed based on recent clinical encounters.

Next steps: The results suggest that residents are using more open access interactive multimedia tools. Medical educators must engage with current learners to guide appropriate use of these.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Education / methods*
  • Emergency Medicine / education*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data
  • Internship and Residency / methods*
  • Male
  • Periodicals as Topic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Textbooks as Topic
  • United States