Free Online Continuing Medical Education Websites: Our Top 5 Picks

You are in a crunch.  Your recertification is coming up and your continuing medical education (CME) allowance is tapped out.  Sounds like you need some free online CME options.  Which websites offer the best continuing education opportunities?  Here are our top 5 picks.

1. Pri-Med

Pri-Med offers an abundance of online educational opportunities in addition to affordable live meetings across the country.  Online courses can be narrowed down by topic or specialty as well as format.  From case studies to webcasts, I have found Pri-Med to offer the greatest number and variety of free online continuing educational options.  I especially enjoy the webcasts as they give the feeling of attending an actual lecture from the comfort of my couch.  Pri-Med's CME Tracker allows you to store your CME certificates online for easy access avoiding the accumulation of excess stacks of paper in your home.

2. MedPage Today

Best known for it's up to date medical news articles, MedPage Today also offers free online continuing medical education courses.  In fact, by just reading current medical news articles you are able to obtain CME credits through MedPage Today.  This feature offers healthcare providers an excellent way to stay up-to date on current research while simultaneously completing state CME requirements.  Users can sort articles by topic allowing them to complete credits in their area of interest.  Like Pri-Med, MedPage Today also features a CME tracker so you can prevent those pesky certificate print-outs from living on your kitchen counter.

3. Medscape

Similar to MedPage Today, Medscape offers CME credits for staying up to date on current medical research and news. Patient case studies, clinical briefs and journal articles are all featured continuing education topics.  Users obtain credits by answering questions as they move through readings.  The 'Special Collections' section packages recommended CME opportunities by topics like "Advances in Ulcerative Colitis" and "The Heart of a Woman" giving users more robust information on certain topics.  Once again, the CME tracker provides the added convenience of maintaining your CME certificates online.

4. TotalMedEd.com

This site offers free online continuing medical education in both text-based and webcast formats.  Additionally, it offers a free iPhone app so you can complete CME on-the-go.  I originally thought this was genius until I nearly went crazy attempting to read line after line of tiny black text on my iPhone.  There may be a way to fix this, but my blurred vision has not yet resolved enough for me to figure it out.  Also, the iPhone app seems to have a much more limited CME offering than the actual website.

4. freeCME.com

Organized by either topic or specialty, users of freeCME.com are able to chose from multiple educational offerings.  FreeCME.com offers both text-based or webcast formats of CME giving users flexibility in their continuing medical education.  Although this site does not offer nearly as many courses as our top three picks, it is still worth checking out.

Do you have a favorite free online continuing medical education website?  Is there a particular CME activity you think is particularly worthwhile?  Share below!