Interactive online module failed to improve sustained knowledge of the Maryland medical orders for life-sustaining treatment form

Alison E. Turnbull, Margaret M. Hayes, Mohamed D. Hashem, Dale M. Needham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Rationale: Legal documents similar to the Maryland Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) form requiring physician endorsement are increasingly used by critically ill patients. Objectives: To evaluate whether an interactive, online training module on completion and interpretation of the MOLST form leads to a sustained increase in knowledge among house staff. Methods: Pre/post survey of 329 house staff at Johns Hopkins Hospital who admit and discharge patients between June 2014 and July 2015. House staff were encouraged to complete a voluntary, interactive, online educational module on completing and interpreting MOLST forms. Participants received $25 for accessing the module and $10 for completing each survey. Measurements and Main Results: The primary outcome was the change in the number of questions answered correctly on the post- versus presurvey comparing house staff who viewed the module for at least 20 minutes with house staff who never viewed or never completed the module. Overall, 329 (69%) house staff completed the knowledge assessment survey both before and after the module was available, and 201 (61%) of these house staff completed the voluntary module. The median score on the presurvey conducted in July and August of 2014 was 14 out of 21 (interquartile range [IQR] 12, 16). The median (IQR) score on the postsurvey conducted inMay and June of 2015 was 15 out of 21 (13, 17). The median (IQR) change in score among those who spent at least 20 minutes completing the module was 1 question (-1, 3), and among those whonever viewedornever completed themodule itwas also 1 (IQR-1, 2). The postsurvey was completed a median (IQR) of 59 (52, 62) days after viewing the module. After adjusting for years of postgraduate clinical training, self-reported baseline experience completingMOLSTforms, and self-reported responsibility for discharging patients, viewing the module for at least 20 minutes was associated with a nonsignificant increase in score of 0.41 questions (95% confidence interval, -0.25, 1.06; P=0.23). Conclusions: An interactive, online educational module had no effect on trainee knowledge of completing and interpreting MOLST forms approximately 2 months after completion. Information conveyed via online modules alone may have minimal sustained impact on house staff knowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)926-932
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of the American Thoracic Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2016


  • Adult learning
  • Advance directives
  • Interactive tutorial
  • Professional competence
  • Resident education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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