Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 626–629

Measuring Continuing Medical Education Outcomes: A Pilot Study of Effect Size of Three CME Interventions at an SGIM Annual Meeting

  • Saul J. Weiner
  • Jeffrey L. Jackson
  • Sarajane Garten
Brief Report

DOI: 10.1007/s11606-009-0902-3

Cite this article as:
Weiner, S.J., Jackson, J.L. & Garten, S. J GEN INTERN MED (2009) 24: 626. doi:10.1007/s11606-009-0902-3



The ACCME is phasing in new criteria for accreditation from 2008 to 2012. These criteria require CME providers to assess the impact of their interventions.


To assess the feasibility of measuring outcomes at a national meeting, the SGIM evaluation committee conducted a pilot assessment of two workshops and one precourse.


Session coordinators prepared a five-item questionnaire to assess the knowledge and confidence of participants. The questionnaire was administered pre, immediately post, and 9 months after the educational sessions.


Changes in performance were calculated as a standardized difference, or effect size.


All three sessions demonstrated initial knowledge acquisition with effect sizes ranging from 0.39 (small) to 0.99 (large) immediately after the sessions. One session demonstrated sustainment of knowledge over the subsequent 9 months while the other two demonstrated decay. Confidence levels decreased following one of the sessions with an effect size of −0.72 (modest effect).


Effect size measurement of sessions provides quantitative information about their impact on learning and is one way to achieve ACCME compliance. The method, however, poses methodological and logistical challenges that raise questions about the feasibility of tracking learning and retention following a national meeting.


CMEaccreditationpractice performancecontinuum of medical educationquality and improvements in health care

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saul J. Weiner
    • 1
  • Jeffrey L. Jackson
    • 2
  • Sarajane Garten
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Medicine and Department of PediatricsUniversity of Illinois at Chicago, and the Veterans Affairs Center for Management of Complex Chronic CareChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Uniformed Services University of the Health SciencesBethesdaUSA
  3. 3.Society of General Internal MedicineWashingtonUSA