Educational meetings have been shown to slightly improve professional practice and patient outcomes. Results of a recently updated review on this subject, based on 81 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) representing 11,000 healthcare professionals, were published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
The current analysis updated previous research on this subject. Objectives for the updated analysis were: (1) “to assess the effects of educational meetings on professional practice and healthcare outcomes” and (2) “to investigate factors that might explain the heterogeneity of these effects” in their study. A new literature review was conducted by 2 researchers who independently extracted data for the analysis, evaluating the risk for bias. Reviewers identified 49 new studies to add to the 32 studies in the previous review.
Findings of the analysis indicated that the use of educational meetings (ie, courses, seminars, and workshop in various formats) as the single intervention or as the main component of a multifaceted intervention probably slightly improved compliance with desired practice, compared with no intervention. The certainty of evidence for this comparison was moderate.
Further, the use of educational meetings as the single intervention or as the main component of a multifaceted intervention probably slightly improved patient outcomes as well, compared with no intervention. The certainty of evidence for this comparison was moderate as well.
Additionally, researchers found that the use of educational meetings alone, compared with other interventions, may improve compliance with desired practice, although the certainty of evidence for this comparison was low. Notably, none of the studies met the inclusion criteria for evaluating the effect of educational meetings on patient outcome measurements.
Uncertainty existed regarding the effects of use of interactive educational meetings compared with didactic (ie, lecture-based) educational meetings on compliance with desired practice and or on patient outcomes. Uncertainty also existed with respect to the effects of utilization of any other comparison of different formats and durations of educational meetings on compliance with desired practice or on patient outcomes.
The investigators concluded that educational meetings as the chief component of an intervention most likely are responsible for slight improvements in professional practice and, to a lesser extent, in patient outcomes. In fact, educational meetings may improve compliance with desired practice to a greater degree than other types of behavioral change interventions, including text messages, office systems, or fees. The use of a multistrategy approach might positively impact the effects of educational meetings.
Forsetlund L, O’Brien MA, Forsén L, et al. Continuing education meetings and workshops: effects on professional practice and healthcare outcomes. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2021;9(9):CD003030. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003030.pub3.