HomeProfessionalsCareer DevelopmentFellowsInnovations in Fellowship Education2016 ▶ The Effect of Paging Reminders on Fellowship Conference Attendance: A Multi Program Randomized Crossover Study
The Effect of Paging Reminders on Fellowship Conference Attendance: A Multi Program Randomized Crossover Study

Indiana University
Bloomington, IN

Program Director: Gabriel Bosslet, MD, MA
Type of Program: Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
Abstract Authors: Joshua Smith, MD; Lorenzo Zaffiri, MD; Julie Clary, MD, MBA; Tyler Davis, MD; and Gabriel T. Bosslet, MD, MA

Didactic lectures have long served as a foundation of medical education. A common practice at many institutions is to send text pages to learners as a reminder prior to the start of conference. The goal of our study was to determine if routine text paging prior to regularly scheduled conferences improves attendance among fellows in three separate internal medicine fellowship programs.

A prospective, randomized crossover study included three separate 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 1of 2 groups (with subsequent cross over to the opposite group): Pages or No Pages. Paging reminders that 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.

A total of 46 fellows (100 percent participation) 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 (43.5vs. 46.6 percent, respectively, p=0.54). Paging reminders had no effect on overall individual attendance (43.7 vs. 45.6 percent, p=0.50). In addition, there were no significant differences identified for individuals within each fellowship and within year of training. At the completion of the study, a survey was provided to all study participants with an overall response rate of 59 percent (27 out of 46 fellows). The majority of fellows found paging reminders to be helpful prior to conference (70.4 percent), although almost 60 percent of participants felt that paging had no effect on their overall attendance. Forty percent of fellows reported being annoyed by reminder pages. The most common reason for absence from conference was clinical responsibilities, followed by conference time and location.

In this randomized crossover study, paging reminders prior to a regularly scheduled conference had no effect on overall attendance. Alternative measures may need to be investigated to improve attendance, in particular, reducing barriers to attending conference. Future studies could assess the effect of paging on a variety of rotation types.
*Disclaimer: This abstract has been submitted for publication to the Journal of Graduate Medical Education but has not been accepted at time of submission to the ATS.

Last Reviewed: December 2016