Objective: To present interactive online continuing medical education (CME) over the World Wide Web as a more efficient alternative to traditional modes of CME delivery.
Design: A departmental Web site available to those with access to the Internet.
Setting: A tertiary-care teaching hospital in the United States.
Results: Comprehensive case studies have been developed and are complete with images, text, and questions, including explanations for correct and incorrect responses. The images are linked to pertinent text to maximize their educational value. The cases are easily accessible, user friendly, and fully referenced. The system became operational in January 1996, and the first CME certificate was awarded to a participant shortly thereafter.
Conclusions: Continuing medical education over the World Wide Web is an efficient means of delivering CME to the community at large; it allows participating physicians the latitude to obtain convenient CME credit at their leisure, in contrast to the regimented experience of formal CME conferences or symposiums. The interactive format of the CME cases allows the participant to submit immediate comments or criticism to case authors and receive instant feedback on their own performance, features unavailable in comparable educational software packages. The dynamic environment of the World Wide Web lends itself to the production and dissemination of such flexible forms of CME for the physician and will continue to expand in this capacity into the foreseeable future.