Teaching and evaluating point of care learning with an Internet-based clinical-question portfolio

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Introduction:Diplomates in the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program satisfy the self-evaluation of medical knowledge requirement by completing open-book multiple-choice exams. However, this method remains unlikely to affect practice change and often covers content areas not relevant to diplomates' practices. We developed and evaluated an Internet-based point of care (POC) learning portfolio to serve as an alternative.Methods:Participants enter information about their clinical questions, including characteristics, information pursuit, application, and practice change. After documenting 20 questions, they reflect upon a summary report and write commitment-to-change statements about their learning strategies. They can link to help screens and medical information resources. We report on the beta test evaluation of the module, completed by 23 internists and 4 internal medicine residents.Results:Participants found the instructions clear and navigated the module without difficulty. The majority preferred the POC portfolio to multiple-choice examinations, citing greater relevance to their practice, guidance in expanding their palette of information resources, opportunity to reflect on their learning needs, and “credit” for self-directed learning related to their patients. Participants entered a total of 543 clinical questions, of which 250 (46%) resulted in a planned practice change. After completing the module, 14 of 27 (52%) participants committed to at least 1 change in their POC learning strategies.Discussion:Internists found the portfolio valuable, preferred it to multiple-choice examinations, often changed their practice after pursuing clinical questions, and productively reflected on their learning strategies. The ABIM will offer this portfolio as an elective option in MOC.

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