Online medical education improves knowledge of physiologic mechanisms of sleep among neurologists and primary care clinicians

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Sleep Med


Introduction: Understanding the pathophysiologic mechanisms of sleep has important clinical implications, including helping to explain how sleep architecture changes with age as well as the causes and management of insomnia. Given the volume of people with insomnia and the aging population within the United States, it is important that clinicians are aware of how the brain regulates sleep. An online educational activity was developed with the goal of knowledge among neurologists and primary care physicians (PCPs) regarding the biologic factors involved in the propensity for sleep. Materials and methods: An online educational intervention was developed in the form of a 30-minute video lecture with synchronized slides. Educational effectiveness was assessed with a repeated pairs pre-/post- assessment study design in which each individual served as his/her own control. Responses to 3 knowledge-based and 1 confidence-based questions were analyzed. A chi-square test assessed changes from pre- to post-assessment. Cramer's V was used to calculate the effect size of online education. Data from the assessment were collected between March 18, 2019 and April 4, 2019. Results: A comparison of responses from pre- to post-assessment questions demonstrated a considerable educational effect for neurologists (n=148; V=0.24; P<.01) and an extensive educational effect for PCPs (n=656; V=0.378; P<.01). Participation in this educational intervention showed improvements for both groups in the following areas (P<.05): the neurotransmitter system involved in modulating sleep and wakefulness; the nucleoside involved in homeostatic sleep drive; and the stage of sleep that declines the most among older adults. Activity participation resulted in 34% of neurologists and 49% of PCPs reporting a measurable increase in confidence in the knowledge of the neurobiology of sleep in older adults. Conclusions: This study demonstrated the success of a targeted online, video lecture on improving neurologists' and PCPs' knowledge of the neurochemical mediators of sleep and how sleep changes with age. Future education should continue to address the neurobiology of sleep and the impact of age on sleep. Acknowledgements: The educational program and outcomes analysis was supported by an educational grant from Eisai, Inc.





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