The Growth of Online CME Amongst Physicians and Top Providers

CMEList April 26, 2019

Physician participation in CME has been increasing every year. According to the ACCME annual data reports, the overall number of physician interactions with CME activities from providers accredited in the ACCME system has increased by 15% from 2014-2017.

While participation in all CME activities has been increasing, the popularity in online CME/internet enduring materials amongst physicians has been especially rising over the past several years. From 2014-2017, physician participation in internet enduring materials has increased by 18%. In addition, according to the 2018 MMS annual physicians survey, 49% of physicians stated that they prefer to earn their CME credits via online CME activities. The pie chart below breaks down the most popular methods for physicians to earn CME credits.

Why is online CME growing in popularity?

There are many reasons why an increasing number of physicians are starting to prefer online/digital CME activities to meet their CME requirements. While there are many different types of online CME activities, many share these appealing characteristics:

  • Online Convenience
  • Multiple Formats
  • Individualized Learning
  • CME gift card

Online Convenience

A major reason online CME activities are popular is the convenience they provide. Many online activities can be accessed on multiple online devices making it easier to learn and earn CME credits at the time and place that best fits your need. For example, you can often use your phone to earn credits on the go or on your commute or use your laptop to earn CME credits easily from the comfort of your home or office.

Multiple Formats

Many physicians prefer online CME activities because of the multiple formats available. Online CME activities come in many different formats including audio, on-demand online, video, self-assessment questions, and more. Many activities are also offered in more than one format. The different formats give physicians the choice of selecting the option that best fits their learning preferences.

Individualized Learning

Most online CME activities present the opportunity for individualized learning. Individualized learning allows physicians to go at their own pace and not be subject to the needs of others. Physicians can also focus on their needs and areas of focus while using an online CME activity as opposed to being subject to the agenda of a live conference or lecture.

CME Gift Card

Many online CME activities are starting to offer a free gift card back with purchase. BoardVitals CME Pro Plus, for example, allows physicians to get up to a complimentary $2,500 Amazon Gift Card or Visa prepaid card in return. This is an attractive offer for physicians because it allows them to get a free gift card back when they use their CME allowance.

If this interests you, check out all CME with gift card offers

Top Online CME Providers

With online CME increasing in popularity, there has also been an increase in the number of online CME providers and the online activities they offer. Some of the top providers of online CME include:

  • BoardVitals
  • Oakstone
  • Audio Digest
  • ScientiaCME


BoardVitals is a leading provider in online self-assessment board reviews. Their board review courses cover over 30 different specialties and make earning CME credits and preparing for your board exams convenient and quick.

As previously mentioned they also have a gift card offer that allows physicians to get up to a $2,500 Amazon or Visa prepaid card back.


Oakstone is one of the most popular providers of online CME in the market. They provide a wide range of different activities including journal summaries, clinical updates, and board reviews. Many of their activities also come in multiple formats.

Oakstone also has a gift card offer called CMEinfo Insider which allows physicians to get a $1,500 Amazon gift card back with purchase.

Audio Digest

Audio-Digest is a leading provider in online CME audio lectures. Their lectures make earning CME credits easy and convenient to earn and are perfect for auditory learners.

They have an extensive product line but their most comprehensive product is the Audio-Digest Clinical Compendia which offers various lectures in a specific specialty and comes with up to a complimentary $1,000 free Amazon or Visa gift card.

The Doctor’s Channel

The Doctor’s Channel is a top free CME provider. They offer free online CME videos that can be consumed quickly for CME credits.