Need for comprehensive women's health continuing medical education among primary care physicians

D S Kwolek, M B Donnelly, E Carr, D A Sloan, S A Haist
Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions 2000, 20 (1): 33-8

BACKGROUND: The Council on Graduate Medical Education's (COGME) Fifth Report on Women and Medicine states that "changes in undergraduate and graduate medical education, in addition to continuing medical education, are needed to address adequately the comprehensive health needs of women." Primary care physicians (PCPs) who completed residency training prior to the establishment of new guidelines for women's health education are dependent on continuing medical education (CME) to update their knowledge and skills.

METHODS: Primary care physicians attending a university-based CME program in family medicine were surveyed (n = 300) about their need for CME in women's health topics. Responses were analyzed using chi-square analysis and Pearson correlations. Topics of interest were compared with women's health competencies published in 1997 by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and in 1997 by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

RESULTS: Of 30 women's health topics listed, 22 were of interest to 50% or more of respondents and 11 were of very high interest (p < .05). Respondents most interested in women's health CME were most likely to believe CME would reduce the number of referrals currently required to evaluate women's breast problems. Topics of interest also align well with ABIM and AAFP competencies in women's health. CME in comprehensive women's health care is therefore of high interest to our respondents and topics of greatest interest are identified.

IMPLICATIONS: Areas of interest correlate well with new requirements by ABIM and AAFP and should be targeted by CME programs.

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