Continuing Medical Education and CADTH: Effective CME from an unexpected source

Continuing medical education, or CME, has come a long way in recent years. At one time CME, also known as ‘continuing professional development’ (CPD), took place mostly at large conferences and meetings with didactic presentations. Only a few providers of CME existed. Today, CME can take place anywhere — including at home while wearing pajamas — and can take on almost any form, from podcasts to Facebook groups. And continuing medical education is no longer limited to only those officially in the medical field. Mini medical schools offer talks to the general public to increase their health knowledge, and the #FOAMed movement (Free Open Access Meducation — Medical education for anyone, anywhere, anytime) focuses on freely available medical education resources for all, on the web. This evolution of CME has allowed organizations such as CADTH — an independent agency that finds and summarizes the research on drugs, medical devices, and procedures — to offer CME activities to clinicians in both traditional and non-traditional ways.


For busy clinicians, there isn’t always time to attend a lecture or a conference to get the latest information on drugs, medical devices, and procedures. For this reason, CADTH has partnered with The Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) to produce quick “True and False” quizzes based on CADTH research for doctors and other health care providers. These quizzes allow clinicians to test their knowledge on issues relevant to their practice and read up-to-date evidence and information on the topic — taking only a minute or two out of their busy day. The quizzes appear on the homepage of CMAJ — — and are updated regularly. All of the CMAJ quizzes — from CADTH, as well as Choosing Wisely Canada and the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care — are available for review anytime in the quiz archives on the CMAJ website:

Here are just a few of the True/False statements you can find there:

True or false: Warfarin is no longer the drug of choice for preventing stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation.

True or false: All sexually active women less than 25 years of age should be offered chlamydia screening.

True or false: Probiotics may be effective in preventing and treating some gastrointestinal disorders.

This quick learning opportunity is proving to be quite popular, with some quizzes already racking up over 600 responses to the True/False question.


For a more formal CME opportunity in which CME credits can be earned, CADTH has partnered with the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) to offer Optimal Prescribing modules. Developed by the CMA in collaboration with CADTH and based on CADTH research, the 12 accredited online CME modules cover key issues in safely and effectively prescribing drugs or classes of drugs. After completing each module and answering questions, 0.5 Mainpro credits can be claimed from the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Optimal Prescribing module topics include:

  • Choosing the best ADHD medication for your patient


  • New oral anticoagulants: optimal use in patients with atrial fibrillation


  • Opioids for chronic pain


CMA members can access the Optimal Prescribing modules on the CMA website. For pharmacists and other health care professionals, CADTH has developed a workshop accredited by the Canadian Council on Continuing Education in Pharmacy — Critical Appraisal 101. This workshop geared to those without a strong research background provides information, assessment tools, and hands-on training from critical appraisal experts at CADTH. It teaches participants how to effectively read and interpret the medical literature including randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews, clinical practice guidelines, and qualitative studies. For more information or to set up a workshop, you can contact a CADTH Liaison Officer in your area:

Even helping CADTH by providing feedback on our projects that are underway can earn family physicians and specialists CME credits. And feedback from clinicians helps to ensure that CADTH evidence reviews are relevant to clinical practice. Our calls for feedback come via the CADTH E-Alert, and you can subscribe at

Keeping up with the latest evidence on drugs, medical devices, and procedures as well as earning the necessary CME credits can be a challenge for busy clinicians. CADTH is just one of the organizations in Canada working to make these tasks a little easier. If you’d like more information about CADTH; our evidence on a variety of drugs, devices, or procedures; or our CME opportunities visit, follow us on Twitter: @CADTH_ACMTS, or talk to our Liaison Officer in your region.