Interactive continuing education workshops or conferences can improve professional practice and patient outcomes
QUESTION: Are continuing education meetings and workshops effective for improving professional practice and patient outcomes?
Studies were identified by searching the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Group specialised register, Medline (1966 to January 1999), the Research and Development Resource Base in Continuing Medical Education, and reference lists of relevant papers.
Studies were selected if they were randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or quasi-experimental studies with contemporaneous data collection, involved qualified health professionals or post graduate trainees, examined the effect of planned educational activities, and objectively measured health professional practice behaviour or patient outcomes. Studies were excluded if allocation was by participant choice or if participants were all undergraduate students.
2 reviewers extracted data on study quality, interventions, and outcomes.
32 studies (36 comparisons, 30 RCTs) involving physicians, nurses, psychotherapists, pharmacists, and other health professionals met the selection criteria. 31 studies measured health …