To develop a computer-based teaching program using a hospital health care system to instruct pediatric and medicine-pediatric residents (MPR) in pediatric emergency medicine, and to determine residents' participation, interest, and benefit from the project over 3 years' time.
University-affiliated pediatric hospital.
One multiple-choice question about pediatric emergency medicine was sent daily to pediatric residents and MPR via the hospital health care system's internal electronic mail (e-mail) system. Residents were asked to reply electronically with the correct answer. The next day, the correct answer, discussion, and a new question were sent to the residents via e-mail.
Main Outcome Measures
Tabulated electronic participation for 3 years; self-report surveys of participation after 1 and 3 years' participation. Pretest and posttest scores before and after 1 year of participation.
From October 3, 1994, to June 14, 1995, 52 of 64 pediatric residents and MPR (81%) elected to receive the e-mail questions, but only 31 (48%) sent electronic replies. The average number of e-mail replies received per resident that year was 38 (22%) of 171 (range, 1-164 e-mail replies; median, 33). In academic years 1995-1996 and 1996-1997, although averages and ranges were similar, regular e-mail participation declined. Residents preferred to participate by reading e-mail only. Pediatric residents and MPR judged e-mail questions to be as educationally valuable or better than Grand Rounds (92%) or our Resident Lecture Series of basic pediatric topics (87%).
Pediatric residents and MPR do participate in a daily e-mailed question/answer format of teaching, but prefer to do so passively, by reading daily questions only, rather than actively, by sending answers to an e-mail box. This format provides medical education that is uniform, accommodates residents' varying schedules, and is a useful adjunct to other teaching methods.