Educational Tools Seek to Further Managed Care Goals

Cathy Tokarski


November 20, 2000

In This Article

Solving Real-Life Problems

ACP-ASIM's Clinical Problem Solving Cases series was created to develop and maintain doctors' reasoning skills, knowledge of clinical epidemiology, and skills in evidence-based medicine, according to Patrick C. Alguire, MD, the group's director of education.

Available in print and Web formats, the ambulatory cases reflect the type of situations typically encountered in a primary care practice. The cases provide doctors with: patient history and exam information; decision points that involve either a diagnosis or a therapy; feedback on rationale, utility and cost; and access to supporting information. Cases typically take between 45 minutes and an hour to complete and are eligible for Category 1 CME credit.

Developers sought to make cases reflect real-life, time-consuming situations, Dr. Alguire said. "Most of the cases deal with problems of compliance and how to deal with it," he said, such as discussing the benefits of wearing stockings for patient with circulatory problems. On the Web version, a clock at the bottom of the computer screen keeps track of the time that elapses between collecting information and communicating it to the patient.

Offering educational content on the Web seems to make it more appealing than print formats, Dr. Alguire noted. A study by Bell et al. published this year in the Annals of Internal Medicine concluded that while no difference existed in the level of content mastered in a Web-based format versus print, users mastered the Web version faster and found it more satisfying. "It's more fun," said Dr. Alguire.


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