Continuing medical education should be offered by both e-mail and regular mail: a survey of Ontario anesthesiologists
PURPOSE: In response to the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Maintenance of Certification Program (MainCert), a research project was designed to determine the modality by which practicing anesthesiologists in Ontario would like to undertake their continuing education courses. We wished to explore whether interest in electronic delivery correlates with gender, age, location of practice, appointment to teaching hospitals or number of years in practice.
METHODS: Following University of Toronto Ethics approval, a survey questionnaire was sent to 875 anesthesiologists practicing in Ontario. Included with the questionnaire was an offer of a free module to be delivered by e-mail, regular mail or fax that could, upon completion, generate MainCert credits.
RESULTS: Of the 875 questionnaires mailed, 413 (47%) were returned. A total of 404 responses, 113 from female (30%) and 291 from male (70%) anesthesiologists, were entered in the database. Three hundred and thirty three respondents requested the module and of these 51% preferred delivery by regular mail, 40% by e-mail and 3% by fax. Chi squared tests showed no significant differences between gender, among age groups, location of practice nor affiliation with university/teaching hospitals. When asked to rate their level of comfort with the Internet on a ten-point scale (1 = low, 10 = high), 59% of respondents indicated a level of 8 or higher. Of those who preferred regular mail, 40% indicated that they were also comfortable with electronic communication.
CONCLUSION: It was concluded that both e-mail and regular mail options should be offered to facilitate continuing medical education.