Objective. To critically appraise evidence of the effectiveness of continuing medical education (CME) in rheumatic diseases for primary care physicians. Methods. Three physicians independently applied preset criteria to evaluated CME interventions published between January 1966 and August 1993. Results. Eight of 166 articles identified were critically appraised, 7 of which had positive results. Marked heterogeneity in educational interventions, evaluative methods, and outcomes was noted. Conclusion. Despite generally positive results, weak methodology precludes drawing firm conclusions about the effectiveness of CME in rheumatic diseases.