A Theory-Based Study of Factors Explaining General Practitioners' Intention to Use and Participation in Electronic Continuing Medical Education

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Abstract

Introduction:

Electronic modes of continuing medical education (eCME) can provide an appropriate and scalable way of updating the knowledge and skills of general practitioners (GPs). To optimize the adoption of eCME and develop efficient and cost-effective eCME programs, factors explaining GPs' intention to use eCME must first be elucidated.

Methods:

Using the Theory of Planned Behavior as a framework, we developed a questionnaire and administered it to GPs in seven CME seminars in Isfahan, Iran, in 2014. Three domains of GPs' intention to use eCME were measured: attitudes, perceived behavioral control, and subjective norms. We used linear and logistic regression to identify the main predictors of intention and behavior.

Results:

GPs who had high score in perceived behavioral control and a more positive attitude toward e-learning had a higher intention to adopt it for CME. In contrast, subjective norms (eg, social pressures to use eCME) were not a predictor. Attitude toward usefulness of eCME was the main predictor of being an actual eCME user.

Discussion:

Perceived behavioral control and attitude constitute the main predictors of the intention to use eCME. Establishing discussions forums and strengthening organizational support for eCME through an increased awareness among clinical superiors and CME managers would be expected to increase GPs' intention to use eCME.

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