Background: Numerous studies have assessed the effectiveness of online continuing medical education (CME) designed to improve healthcare professionals' care of patients. The effects of online educational interventions targeted at general practitioners (GP), however, have not been systematically reviewed.
Methods: A computer search was conducted through seven databases for studies assessing changes in GPs' knowledge and practice, or patient outcomes following an online educational intervention.
Results: Eleven studies met the eligibility criteria. Most studies (8/11, 72.7%) found a significant improvement in at least one of the following outcomes: satisfaction, knowledge or practice change. There was little evidence for the impact of online CME on patient outcomes. Variability in study design, characteristics of online and outcome measures limited conclusions on the effects of online CME.
Discussion: Online CME could improve GP satisfaction, knowledge and practices but there are very few well-designed studies that focus on this delivery method of GP education.