BACKGROUND: Educational conferences have long served as a foundation of medical education. Sending reminder text pages prior to the start of conferences is a method that may be employed to enhance conference attendance.
OBJECTIVE: The goal of our study was to determine if routine text paging before regularly scheduled conferences improves attendance among fellows in 3 internal medicine programs.
METHODS: A prospective, randomized, crossover study included 3 fellowship programs: pulmonary and critical care, cardiovascular disease, and hematology-oncology. The study was performed between October 2014 and March 2015. All fellows were included and randomized to 1 of 2 groups (with subsequent crossover to opposite group): Pages or No Pages. Paging reminders, which included conference title, location, and time, were sent 30 minutes prior to every conference for those in the intervention arm. Attendance was collected through a standard attendance log using self-registration.
RESULTS: A total of 46 fellows and 156 conferences were included for analysis, with 75 during the first 3 months and 81 during the second 3 months. There were no differences in individual overall attendance between randomized groups for the entire study period (42.9% versus 46.5%, P = .46). Paging reminders had no effect on overall individual attendance (43.7% versus 45.6%, P = .50). In addition, no significant differences were identified for individuals within each fellowship and training year.
CONCLUSIONS: Paging reminders prior to a regularly scheduled conference had no effect on overall attendance in this study. Fellows reported that clinical obligations were a major barrier to conference attendance.
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