Improving Physician Attendance At Educational Seminars Sponsored By Managed Care Organizations

Although interactive educational seminars that target physicians require a large investment of resources, they can be cost-effective if medical care is improved as a result.

Michael D. Cabana, MD, MPH
Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan Health System
Randall Brown, MD, MPH
Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan Health System
Noreen M. Clark, PhD
Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan School of Public Health
Diane F. White, RRT
Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan Health System
Juanita Lyons, PhD
Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan Health System
Sylvia Wanner Lang, PhD
Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan Health System
Susan L. Bratton, MD, MPH
Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan Health System


Purpose: To enhance primary care provider participation in a multifaceted interactive asthma teaching program sponsored by managed care organizations.

Design: Case series of six MCO- sponsored continuing medical education (CME) sessions.

Methodology: MCOs were provided with a standard set of recruitment materials. The MCO disease management divisions invited pediatric primary care providers of several types to attend the asthma teaching sessions and tracked the type of contacts employed and the success rate. Participants were awarded CME and were provided with a meal to encourage attendance. The faculty included a local physician-leader and a regional asthma expert. The sessions were scheduled by the MCO, but were given by the study group using a previously developed curriculum that emphasized material endorsed by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Direct costs were tracked.

Principal findings: Overall, 53 of 299 (18 percent) providers participated in the two-part asthma CME sessions. Recruitment was significantly more successful when a physician leader participated in solicitation of providers (P<.01). Successful recruitment generally necessitated two points of contact, and phone contact appeared to yield greater success than e-mail. Scheduling conflicts and inconvenient location were the most common reasons given for not attending the seminars. Ninety percent of providers who attended the first session completed the program. The average direct cost per provider was $370.

Conclusion: Even when offering primary care providers a multifaceted interactive asthma-teaching program, physician recruitment necessitates personal and multiple contacts, and careful planning in terms of seminar location, time, and content. Interactive physician education seminars necessitate a large investment of resources but may be cost-effective if care is improved.

Author correspondence:
Michael D. Cabana, MD, MPH
Division of General Pediatrics
University of Michigan Health System
6-D-19 NIB, Box 0456
300 North Ingalls Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0456

This paper has undergone peer review by appropriate members of Managed Care's Editorial Advisory Board.

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