From Richard Winters:
According to the Medscape folks … their site accounts for a significant percentage of this traffic. The increase in physician use of the internet for CME surprises me. In general, we don't have very long attention spans. We've got many "balls in the air" and our time is limited. We use the internet as a tool — primarily for information retreival (to answer a specific question) and communication. Most of us use it for communication via e-mail and many are beginning to use more secure methods such as Relayhealth for communication with patients. (ooh .. I'd better check my messages) But CME requires a commitment of time. I need to sit down at the computer and know that I will devote 30 or 60 minutes to this activity. I've been a skeptic about online CME for this reason. Most of us would rather spend our precious time off with the kids. CME activities like the AAPF convention provide us with a chance to dedicate a few days to CME without the distractions of phones, e-mails, instant messages etc.
But attendance this year isn't what it had been at the peak. After 9/11, last year's attendance was ~ 4,000. This year it's ~4,700. So more physicians are here .. but perhaps they are carving out that time at home to do online CME rather than traveling. Medscape's Online CME permits printing .. so one isn't tied to the computer. This is good.