A commitment to the maintenance of professional competence by a continuing educational process is nothing new to medicine. It has been the motivating force for the formation of professional societies including the American Medical Association, for the launching of an imposing number of professional journals as well as the development of postgraduate programs, both by professional societies and by educational institutions. The attendance at meetings, continuing education courses, and refresher seminars all indicate wide interest by many practitioners in remaining currently informed about new developments in medicine.
Individual motivation has been augmented by organizational requirements for participation in postgraduate training. The first such program was launched by the American Academy of General Practice (now the American Academy of Family Practice). More recently, nine state medical associations have adopted systems requiring the acquisition of educational credits as a condition for continued membership. Other encouragement has been offered by such accolades as