We will develop 3 online continuing medical education (CME) programs for physicians to improve their ability to implement cancer screening and prevention strategies. These programs will be based on the successful model developed in Phase I and will focus on skin, breast and prostate cancer. We will test these programs via the Internet for physician acceptability, increases in confidence, knowledge and clinical skills. Following the initial testing, we will implement them in a large California Individual Practice Association (IPA) and test them for actual improvement in physician performance with a randomized controlled trial. We will survey IPA members cared for by approximately 80 IPA physicians for cancer risks and prevention behaviors. We will make cancer risk reduction strategies, such as reminders and educational messages, available to all 80 physicians via an Internet-based Disease Management program, while the CME will only be available to half of the physicians. At the conclusion of the study we will measure changes in physician skills and knowledge via standardized tests, changes in physician performance via medical claims data, and changes in patient behavior via survey data. We believe that physicians using the online CME will show measurable improvements in cancer knowledge and skills as well as greater use of cancer prevention strategies in their patients.
The commercial potential for online CME that can be shown to improve physician performance is considerable. Physicians have already purchased the Company's online CME via the Internet and can be expected to purchase considerably more in the future. In addition, managed care organizations are seeking cost-effective strategies to improve care and lower costs. Effective CME programs that can be integrated into their disease management strategies will be extremely attractive to these organizations.