Pivoting to digital

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way the world works. With in-person meetings out of the question, the world is turning to digital, with video emerging as the new face-to-face. As the shut-down continues, HCPs begin to think about the future – how will they care for their patients (those who have COVID-19, and those who need to be protected from it) in a COVID-19 world? Millions of people are still diagnosed and fighting cancer, diabetes, heart disease, migraines, and more, and access to new research and breakthroughs are harder to learn about with most major medical conferences cancelled.

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Redefining the new normal

We surveyed more than 200 HCPs to learn more about how they plan on learning in our ‘new normal’ and what information they’re seeking most often now. The results show HCPs making a sharp pivot toward digital to meet their information needs.

The vast majority, almost 9 out of 10 physicians surveyed (86%) anticipate that they will turn to online CME as their primary CME format choice in 2020, largely eclipsing all other CME formats.

The largest change came from HCPs who noted they previously sought the majority of their CME education from live in-person formats prior to March 2020. Almost 3/4, or 72%, of this group noted a switch to online education (42% preferring on-demand online video, 30% preferring live-online education). Less than a quarter, or 22%, selected they would continue to seek the majority of their CME education at live, in-person meetings. Top reasons sited for preferring online video were convenience, quality (exposure to top faculty, high CME quality) and cost.

  • “Digital is how I’ve been doing it for the past few years. No change. Conferences have become too expensive.” – General Practice participant
  • “[Online CME] is a great way to keep up to date.” – Family Practice physician
  • “All the meetings I wanted to go to were cancelled.” – OBGYN

What does the future hold for CME?

This shift to digital learning also came with an increase in time spent participating in online CME. Physicians appear to be consuming more online learning when comparing pre-March 1, 2020 to post-March 1, 2020 behaviors. That is, physicians have recently shifted towards the use of online learning for CME for longer periods of time. Open-text responses give us some indication: physicians say that virtual and online education is a more accessible, convenient, safe way to stay up to date and to complete their CME goals.

  • “I think there will be more online CMEs in the post-COVID era. I’ll continue online learning, which is more convenient and safer.” – Oncologist
  • “Online education is exciting, and I think it will become more of a part of my regular CME. I’m spending more time researching COVID-19 than prior, while still doing my other CME” – Pediatrician
  • “Interactive video-based programs, case reports, and problem solving will be beneficial.” – Internal Medicine responder

When asked to identify the type of medical information they seek most commonly, much of the information currently sought by HCPs is related to COVID-19, (COVID-specific information, and the impact of COVID-19 in their area of practice). However, the most commonly sought medical information online was the same medical updates that physicians normally seek in their area of medicine. 64% noted the information they seek is related to their specialty (medical information, updates, data from conferences, guidelines, COVID-specific to their therapeutic area), while 36% were most interested in COVID-19 information. Online medical information and education remains a key resource for physicians to stay up to date and to address clinical questions.

Interestingly, 1 in 10 physicians (11%) are also turning to online sources to access data from live conferences and meetings that are not being held due to COVID-19 disruption. We anticipate this percentage may increase, as more information and content is made available online.  One Endocrinologist’s emphatic comment served as a plea for this continued information so important to their daily practice – “We must not ignore other medical topics!”

Want further insights into the data?  Email us at digital@platformq.com.


About PlatformQ Health

PlatformQ Health is the leading provider of interactive digital medical education for clinicians, patients and caregivers. To improve patient care, PlatformQ Health creates video-first educational modules with premier partners, so learners can better understand conditions, available treatment options, and the latest research. The company’s proprietary platform allows participants to engage in real-time discussion with scientific, research and patient care experts – and the integrated learning solution enables advocates, administrators, health systems and plans, foundations, societies, member organizations and associations to measure the impact of their education.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]