Online Continuing Education for Physicians: Distance Learning Options

Essential Information

Continuing education is essential for physician development and is required for maintaining physician licensure in many U.S. states. Physicians may elect to participate in a number of professional activities and training programs designed to enhance knowledge and refine job related skills, including an understanding of current health policy, medical ethics and legal issues.

Professional medical associations provide guidelines detailing acceptable activities and providers for continuing education. These associations offer standardized credits, which are used to meet state requirements for continuing education.

Some activities, such as conference participation, are designed to be completed in person. However, online educational opportunities are available for physicians who face logistical challenges that make it difficult to participate in on-site activities. For instance, physicians may participate in online webinars.

Professional Development Options

Accredited medical schools offer virtual clinics designed to provide attendees with an opportunity to receive evidence-based information on diagnosis and treatment related to specific medical scenarios. Current legal and ethical industry issues are also covered. Sample online training opportunities may include:

  • Pulmonary Health
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Diabetes
  • E-Prescribing Regulations
  • Medical Ethics (including HIPAA and physician gifts)
  • Pediatrics
  • Professional Development
  • Women's Health

Learning Environment

Computer-based training may be provided online via slides, text, case studies and even podcasts. Physicians may also be able to complete continuing education through webinars. Supplemental reading material may also be included. Some programs require that physicians complete tests at the end of a unit to earn credit.

Online continuing education programs are ideal for physicians who want to pursue licensure renewal or increase their knowledge in particular areas of the medical field. They take advantage of a wide range of modern media to cover a broad range of topics.

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