General practitioners' continuing education: a review of policies, strategies and effectiveness, and their implications for the future.
BACKGROUND: The accreditation and provision of continuing education for general practitioners (GPs) is set to change with new proposals from the General Medical Council, the Government, and the Chief Medical Officer. AIM: To review the theories, policies, strategies, and effectiveness in GP continuing education in the past 10 years. METHOD: A systematic review of the literature by computerized and manual searches of relevant journals and books. RESULTS: Educational theory suggests that continuing education (CE) should be work-based and use the learner's experiences. Audit can play an important role in determining performance and needs assessment, but at present is largely a separate activity. Educational and professional support, such as through mentors or co-tutors, has been successfully piloted but awaits larger scale evaluation. Most accredited educational events are still the postgraduate centre lecture, and GP Tutors have a variable role in CE management and provision. Controlled trials of CE strategies suggest effectiveness is enhanced by personal feedback and work prompts. Qualitative studies have demonstrated that education plays only a small part in influencing doctors' behavior. CONCLUSION: Maintaining good clinical practice is on many stakeholders' agendas. A variety of methods may be effective in CE, and larger scale trials or evaluations are needed. (+info)
An audit of distribution and use of guidelines for management of head injury.
Ensuring effective distribution of guidelines is an important step towards their implementation. To examine the effectiveness of dissemination of a guidelines card on management of head injury and determine its usefulness to senior house officers (SHOs), a questionnaire survey was performed in May 1990, after distribution of the cards in induction packs for new doctors and at postgraduate lectures and displaying the guidelines in accident and emergency departments and wards. A further survey, in March 1992, assessed the impact of modifying the distribution. All (175) SHOs working in general surgery, accident and emergency medicine, orthopaedics, and neurosciences on 1 February 1990 in 19 hospitals including two neurosurgical units in Northern region were sent self completion questionnaires about awareness, receipt, use, and perceived usefulness of the guidelines. 131 of 163(80%) SHOs in post responded (median response from hospitals 83% (range 50%-100%)). Over three quarters (103, 79%) of SHOs were aware of the guidelines and 82(63%) had ever possessed a guidelines card. Only 36(44%) acquired the card in the induction pack. 92%(98/107) found them useful and 81% (89/110) referred to them to some extent. Owning and carrying the card and referring to guidelines were associated with departmental encouragement to use the guidelines. Increasing the displays of guidelines in wards and departments and the supply of cards to consultants in accident and emergency medicine as a result of this survey did not increase the number of SHOs who received cards (52/83, 63%), but more (71/83, 86%) were aware of the guidelines. The guidelines were welcomed by SHOs and used in treating patients with head injury, but their distribution requires improvement. Increased use of the guidelines may be achieved by introducing other distribution methods and as a result of encouragement by senior staff. (+info)
Investigation into the attitudes of general practitioners in Staffordshire to medical audit.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate the attitudes of general practitioners to medical audit, and any associations between their attitudes and their personal characteristics. DESIGN: Postal questionnaire survey. SETTING --Staffordshire, United Kingdom. SUBJECTS: 870 Staffordshire general practitioners. MAIN MEASURES: Agreement or disagreement and associations between the attitudes to 16 statements about audit and the doctors' personal or practice characteristics--namely, sex, number of years since qualification, practice list size, number of partners, and the practices' experience of audit. RESULTS: 601 Staffordshire general practitioners (69%) responded. There was most agreement with the statements that audit is time consuming (86%), that ongoing training and education is needed (71%), that there is a compulsion applied on doctors to audit (68%), and that extra resources for audit should be provided by the medical audit advisory group (65%). There was considerable disagreement (53% of general practitioners) with the statement that inverted question markgovernment policy to expect general practitioners to do audit will enhance the population's health. inverted question mark The median response by the 601 general practitioners was four positive responses out of 14 statements about audit (two of the 16 statements could not be graded positive or negative to audit). Women doctors generally had more positive attitudes towards audit, and so had those working with smaller mean list sizes, those in larger partnerships, and those in practices that had carried out audit for a longer time. CONCLUSIONS: There was a generally negative attitude to medical audit, but it was encouraging that those doctors with the most experience of audit obtained the most job satisfaction from it. IMPLICATIONS: More effort is needed to convince general practitioners of the value of audit. Without this, attempts to involve other members of the primary care team in multidisciplinary clinical audit are unlikely to be effective. Successful audits that are shown to be cost effective as well as leading to improvements in patient care should be publicised and replicated. A higher proportion of resources should be devoted to audit. (+info)
Theoretical framework for implementing a managed care curriculum for continuing medical education--Part I.
Healthcare reform has created a new working environment for practicing physicians, as economic issues have become inseparably intertwined with clinical practice. Although physicians have recognized this change, and some are returning to school for formal education in business and healthcare administration, formal education may not be practical or desirable for the majority of practicing physicians. Other curriculum models to meet the needs of these professionals should be considered, particularly given the growing interest in continuing education for physicians in the areas of managed care and related aspects of practice management. Currently, no theory-based models for implementing a managed care curriculum specifically for working physicians have been developed. This paper will integrate diffusion theory, instructional systems design theory, and learning theory as they apply to the implementation of a managed care curriculum for continuing medical education. Through integration of theory with practical application, a CME curriculum for practicing physicians can be both innovative as well as effective. This integration offers the benefit of educational programs within the context of realistic situations that physicians can apply to their own work settings. (+info)
Application of the problem-based learning model for continuing professional education: a continuing medical education program on managed care issues--Part II.
Physicians must incorporate concepts of practice management and knowledge of managed care into their practices. Managed care presents an immediate and challenging opportunity to providers of continuing medical education to offer effective educational programs for physicians on managed care issues. In this exploratory research, the problem-based learning model was used to develop a continuing medical education program that would offer an interactive and effective method for teaching physicians about managed care. Problem-based learning is a departure from the traditional lecture format of continuing medical education programs because it is designed for small groups of self-directed learners who are guided by a faculty facilitator. Although only a small number of participants participated in this program, the findings offer important considerations for providers of continuing medical education. For example, participants reported increased confidence in their knowledge about managed care issues. Participants also clearly indicated a preference for the small group, interactive format of the problem-based learning model. (+info)
Breast reconstruction after mastectomy.
This activity is designed for primary care physicians. GOAL: To appreciate the significant advances and current techniques in breast reconstruction after mastectomy and realize the positive physical and emotional benefits to the patient. OBJECTIVES: 1. Understand basic and anatomic principles of breast reconstruction. 2. Discuss the options for breast reconstruction: a) immediate versus delayed; b) autologous tissue versus implant; and c) stages of reconstruction and ancillary procedures. 3. Provide a comprehensive overview of the risks and benefits of, as well as the alternatives to, each approach so primary care physicians can counsel patients effectively. (+info)
Epidemiology and screening for prostate cancer.
This activity is designed for primary care physicians, internists, and general audiences. GOAL: To provide the reader with a basic understanding of the controversy surrounding population-based prostate cancer screening and of the tools needed to conduct early detection programs for prostate cancer among enrollees. OBJECTIVES: 1. Become familiar with the national debate regarding population-based prostate cancer screening. 2. Learn the essential elements of prostate specific antigen testing for patients. 3. Understand the cost-effectiveness and medico-legal/informed consent issues surrounding prostate cancer detection and screening. (+info)
Identifying and managing patients with hyperlipidemia.
Cardiovascular disease related to hyperlipidemia is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. The benefit of lowering lipid levels in patients with and without cardiovascular disease has been demonstrated in numerous clinical trials. The results of these trials prompted the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute to form the Nation Cholesterol Education Panel (NCEP). This panel developed guidelines for identifying and treating lipid disorders. Before starting antilipemic therapy, patients should be evaluated for secondary causes of hyperlipidemia, including disease states and medications. Risk factors for cardiovascular disease should be identified and used to determine the patient's goal low-density lipoprotein level. Regardless of the drug therapy used, the cornerstone treatment for hyperlipidemia is dietary changes. The NCEP recommendation for dietary modification follows a two-step plan to reduce intake of cholesterol and dietary fats. Other nonpharmacologic treatments for hyperlipidemia include exercise, weight reduction for obese patients, reduction of excessive alcohol use, and smoking cessation . Drug therapy should be considered in patients who do not respond to an adequate trial of dietary modifications and lifestyle changes. The principal lipid-lowering agents currently used are the bile acid sequestrants, nicotinic acid, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG CoA) reductase inhibitors, and fibric acid derivatives. Estrogen, fish oil, and alcohol also can decrease the risk of developing heart disease. In pharmacoeconomic studies, lipid-lowering drug therapy has been shown to decrease the number of procedures, hospitalizations, and other medical interventions required by patients with cardiovascular disease. (+info)