Objective: To assess the needs and determine the effect of a Continuing Medical Education (CME) program designed for primary care physicians on the management of osteoarthritis (OA).
Methods: The needs of potential CME consumers were determined using a standardized case recall questionnaire on the management of OA. A CME program was designed to specifically address identified needs, and the effect of the program was determined by repeat questionnaire by participants at 3 mo followup.
Results: Primary care physicians had a high rate of use of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAID) and a proportionately low rate of use of analgesics. Physiotherapeutic modalities and local steroid injections were underused. There was a relatively low appreciation of potential side effects of therapeutic choices and possible risk factors for toxicity. After participating in the CME program, attendees demonstrated change in their therapeutic practices with an increased awareness of relative risks/benefits of NSAID vs analgesics.
Conclusion: A case recall questionnaire format is a simple and inexpensive means of determining the need for developing a specific program for, and determining the effect of a CME program applicable to rheumatology CME activities for primary care physicians.