A continuing medical education program which linked primary care physicians to a source of needed appropriate clinical knowledge at a relatively low cost has been demonstrated. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was identified as the health problem; the reference patient population was comprised of coal miner health fund beneficiaries living in a 10-county region. Primary care physicians treating beneficiaries in this region were the eligible program participants. Content of the program was based on multiple sources of information about actual practice needs. Several educational techniques were used in combination to convey the knowledge identified as appropriate in the diagnostic stage. A quasi-experimental program evaluation indicated significant changes in physician knowledge, judgment, and self-reported behavior related to diagnosis and treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.