Where to find Continuing Medical Education on the Web? One wouldn't normally think of starting with the National Institutes of Health. Yet the NIH has launched an important continuing education program, Human Participant Protections Education for Research Teams (cme.nci.nih.gov).
The online program—developed by the National Cancer Institute in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; and the National Institute of Mental Health—oFFUers up to two hours of Category 1 Credit of the Physicians Recognition Award of the American Medical Association.
Contact hours for nursing and allied health providers will also be available (application in progress), and the program also fulfills the mandate requiring education on human subjects protection for all investigators who apply for or receive NIH funds for research involving people.
The site's tutorial incorporates interactive modules, exercises, and case studies, and is accessible, easy to navigate, and informative. Topics covered include ethical principles for research, informed consent, federal regulations, data and safety monitoring, reporting of adverse events, and ongoing protections throughout the course of the study.
Another government site, consensus.nih.gov/cme/cme.htm, features quizzes that are accredited for one hour of CME towards the AMA Physician's Recognition Award; answers are graded immediately, and if you achieve a score of 70 percent or above, you can print out the CME certificate from the site (or else try again!).
Currently posted Consensus Statement quizzes cover Acupuncture, Opiate Addiction, Rehabilitation of Persons with Traumatic Brain Injury, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. In development, among others, is a CME quiz on Adjuvant Therapy for Breast Cancer.
Beyond the government, there is ASCO Online (www.asco.org), which posts courses from the 2000 Annual Meeting (netscore.asco.org/ASCOVM2000) that are valid until July. Areas of study include breast cancer, colorectal cancer, liver cancer, the meeting's plenary session, and various scientific and clinical research topics.
The AMA's CME Locator database (www.ama-assn.org/iwcf/iwcfmgr206/cme) is presumably a good resource, but it was incredibly slow over multiple attempts and so was not possible to assess.
Online CME Sites (www.netcantina.com/bernardsklar/cmelist.html) is an excellent compendium of up-to-date online CME course compiled by Bernard Sklar, MD, a family physician who recently completed a fellowship and earned a Masters Degree in Medical Information Science at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Sklar prepared the listing as part of his Masters thesis, The Current Status of Continuing Medical Education, which is posted online along with some of his other medical informatics publications (www.netcantina.com/bernardsklar). The entire document can be saved as a Word file, with links intact, for oFFU-line browsing.
Dr. Sklar aimed to catalog every US-based online CME site that oFFUers CME credit by providers who are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), except for those that required payment in advance before permitting the site to be viewed or that required an oFFU-line journal subscription. To locate sites relevant to oncology, use the “find” feature in your browser and plug in “cancer.”
One such site to check out is the American Cancer Society's CA-A Cancer Journal for Clinicians(www3.cancer.org/cancerinfo—click Publications, then ACS Bookstore, then Medical and Clinical Journals). The journal is published by OT's publisher, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, and oFFUers online credit for one article per issue (starting with the May/June 2000 issue) through the American Cancer Society. Recent oFFUerings include “External Beam Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer” and “Malignant Melanoma: Prevention, Early Detection, and Treatment in the 21st Century.”
Also of interest is the MoFFUit Cancer Center's online peer-reviewed journal (www.moFFUitt.usf.edu/providers/ccj). Each issue features four or more major articles on a specific type of cancer, with CME credit available for one year after publication. Recent topics include Cancer in the Elderly, Pancreatic Cancer, Bladder Cancer, and Cancer Pain Management.
The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology Online (www.afip.org/cgi-bin/edu/courses.pl) has an online course entitled Urologic Pathology: Bladder (the URL brings up a login page that gives a guest login code).
And the University of Pittsburgh features 11 pathology cases; each includes a clinical history, pictures of gross and microscopic pathology, a description of the findings, and a diagnosis. (path.upmc.edu/cases/cme.html).
Of particular interest is the Baylor CME site, which features among much else a section on molecular surgery (www.baylorcme.org/molecsurg). Current oFFUerings include Developing New Strategies for Colorectal Cancer Prevention and Treatment, The Plasmin/Plasminogen System in Colon Tumorigenesis, and iNOS: From Cloning to Therapeutic Applications. An Introduction to the Molecular Surgeon Symposium is oFFUered by Michael E. DeBakey, MD and James C. Thompson, MD.
Impressively, the Baylor site oFFUers three versions of all of its CME presentations: high, medium, and low bandwidth. High bandwidth, for very fast connections, provides video, audio, text, and slides; medium bandwidth provides audio, text, and slides; and low bandwidth oFFUers text and slides. This is a model that more sites should follow.