Objective: To compare the continuing medical education (CME) activities of family physicians in the province of Quebec with more than 25 years in practice with those with less than 25 years in practice.
Design: Mailed questionnaire survey.
Setting: Family practices in the province of Quebec.
Participants: All physicians (n = 722) with more than 25 years in practice (expressed as older) and a matched sample of 721 physicians with less than 25 years in practice (expressed as younger).
Main outcome measures: Types of CME activities and time spent on them, participant characteristics.
Results: Older physicians spent more time in individual CME activities than younger ones (21 hours vs 18 hours monthly). Younger physicians, however, spent more time in group CME activities than older ones did (100 hours vs 80 hours yearly). Excluding physicians who devoted no time to CME activities, only two activities differentiated between the two groups: older physicians spent more time than their younger colleagues reading and listening to audiocassettes.
Conclusions: Older physicians maintained their clinical competence by participating in different CME activities from younger physicians. They participated in as many CME activities as their younger colleagues.