A cross-sectional national survey was conducted amongst a random sample of medical practitioners registered in 1988 with the Malaysian Medical Council with the purpose of determining their educational needs with regards to continuing medical education (CME). A 91.0% response rate was obtained. It was found that more than 70% wanted a programme that would provide them with new practical skills and new knowledge or advances in specific fields. About 2/3 also wanted their intellectual skills in problem-solving to be further developed. Reinforcement of communication skills appears to be of secondary importance. They would also like a programme of CME to help them monitor and improve their diagnostic accuracy, investigative habits, prescribing pattern, skills in interpreting diagnostic tests and management of common illnesses. As for content areas it was found that the problems they have least confidence in managing come mainly from the disciplines of psychiatry, obstetrics and gynaecology, and emergency and critical care. More than 90% preferred self-learning methods with some group-type activities. Based on these needs it was recommended that a programme of CME be developed with orientation towards a practice-based setting, self-directed learning, utilizing problem-solving approaches and focusing on the major content areas identified. In addition, activities such as small-group discussions, clinical rounds and journal clubs should be encouraged to develop into local network group activities to supplement the self-learning and present lectures and talks.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.