Introduction: Medical talks, newsletter circulars, scientific meetings and conferences, and interaction with members of the pharmaceutical industry, have become convenient means of carrying out continuing medical education (CME) for many busy doctors. Materials and Methods: To study the perceived importance of these various CME activities, a self-completed posted questionnaire survey was conducted among registered practitioners of a densely populated urban state in Malaysia. Results: Of the 172 respondents [male, 77%; hospital-based, 37%; general practitioner (GP), 55%; private practice, 70%; respondent rate of 19.5%], most preferred local conferences and endorsements by local experts to their foreign counterparts. Meetings or conferences sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry were ranked similarly with those without such links, while the reputation of the pharmaceutical firms was of foremost importance. Among GPs (n = 95) and non-GPs (n = 77), medical society newsletters were rated significantly higher by GPs while overseas conferences were rated higher by non-GPs. Conclusion: Our findings provide an important first look at this under-explored area among Malaysian doctors and described a high degree of acceptance for the involvement of the pharmaceutical industry in CME activities.
Continuing medical education (CME) plays an indispensable role in the clinical practice of any doctor. The practice of evidence-based medicine today,1 or any meaningful learning per se, requires at least appropriate access to relevant updated medical information. However, the acquisition of such relevant medical knowledge can prove difficult and time-consuming, especially in the face of the rapid and vast advancements in medicine these days. Consequently, for most doctors with busy practices, reliance on medical circulars, scientific talks and conferences, and increasingly, contacts with pharmaceutical firms and their personnel, to gather necessary information becomes a convenient means of carrying out CME. These practices, unsurprisingly, are not confined to Malaysian doctors alone.2,3
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