Factors Associated With Specialists' Intention to Adopt New Behaviors After Taking Web-Based Continuing Professional Development Courses: Cross-sectional Study

JMIR Med Educ. 2022 Jun 2;8(2):e34299. doi: 10.2196/34299.


Background: Web-based continuing professional development (CPD) is a convenient and low-cost way for physicians to update their knowledge. However, little is known about the factors that influence their intention to put this new knowledge into practice.

Objective: We aimed to identify sociocognitive factors associated with physicians' intention to adopt new behaviors as well as indications of Bloom's learning levels following their participation in 5 web-based CPD courses.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study of specialist physicians who had completed 1 of 5 web-based CPD courses offered by the Federation of Medical Specialists of Quebec. The participants then completed CPD-Reaction, a questionnaire based on Godin's integrated model for health professional behavior change and with evidence of validity that measures behavioral intention (dependent variable) and psychosocial factors influencing intention (n=4). We also assessed variables related to sociodemographics (n=5), course content (n=9), and course format (eg, graphic features and duration) (n=8). Content variables were derived from CanMEDS competencies, Bloom's learning levels, and Godin's integrated model. We conducted ANOVA single-factor analysis, calculated the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), and performed bivariate and multivariate analyses.

Results: A total of 400 physicians participated in the courses (range: 38-135 physicians per course). Average age was 50 (SD 12) years; 56% (n=223) were female, and 44% (n=177) were male. Among the 259 who completed CPD-Reaction, behavioral intention scores ranged from 5.37 (SD 1.17) to 6.60 (SD 0.88) out of 7 and differed significantly from one course to another (P<.001). The ICC indicated that 17% of the total variation in the outcome of interest, the behavioral intention of physicians, could be explained at the level of the CPD course (ICC=0.17). In bivariate analyses, social influences (P<.001), beliefs about capabilities (P<.001), moral norm (P<.001), beliefs about consequences (P<.001), and psychomotor learning (P=.04) were significantly correlated with physicians' intention to adopt new behaviors. Multivariate analysis showed the same factors, except for social influences and psychomotor learning, as significantly correlated with intention.

Conclusions: We observed average to high behavioral intention scores after all 5 web-based courses, with some variations by course taken. Factors affecting physicians' intention were beliefs about their capabilities and about the consequences of adopting new clinical behaviors, as well as doubts about whether the new behavior aligned with their moral values. Our results will inform design of future web-based CPD courses to ensure they contribute to clinical behavior change.

Keywords: CPD-Reaction; behavioral intention; continuing professional development; education; medical education; medical specialists; online course; physician; psychosocial; web-based training.