Impact of continuing medical education in cancer diagnosis on GP knowledge, attitude and readiness to investigate - a before-after study.
ABSTRACT: Continuing medical education (CME) in earlier cancer diagnosis was launched in Denmark in 2012 as part of the Danish National Cancer Plan. The CME programme was introduced to improve the recognition among general practitioners (GPs) of symptoms suggestive of cancer and improve the selection of patients requiring urgent investigation. This study aims to explore the effect of CME on GP knowledge about cancer diagnosis, attitude towards own role in cancer detection, self-assessed readiness to investigate and cancer risk assessment of urgently referred patients.We conducted a before-after study in the Central Denmark Region including 831 GPs assigned to one of eight geographical clusters. All GPs were invited to participate in the CME at three-week intervals between clusters. A questionnaire focusing on knowledge, attitude and clinical vignettes was sent to each GP one month before and seven months after the CME. The GPs were also asked to assess the risk of cancer in patients urgently referred to a fast-track cancer pathway during an eight-month period. CME-participating GPs were compared with reference (non-participating) GPs by analysing before-after differences.One quarter of all GPs participated in the CME. 202 GPs (24.3 %) completed both the baseline and the follow-up questionnaires. 532 GPs (64.0 %) assessed the risk of cancer before the CME and 524 GPs (63.1 %) assessed the risk of cancer after the CME in urgently referred consecutive patients. Compared to the reference group, CME-participating GPs statistically significantly improved their understanding of a rational probability of diagnosing cancer among patients urgently referred for suspected cancer, increased their knowledge of cancer likelihood in a 50-year-old referred patient and lowered the assessed risk of cancer in urgently referred patients.The standardised CME lowered the GP-assessed cancer risk of urgently referred patients, whereas the effect on knowledge about cancer diagnosis and attitude towards own role in cancer detection was limited. No effect was found on the GPs' readiness to investigate. CME may be effective for optimising the interpretation of cancer symptoms and thereby improve the selection of patients for urgent cancer referral.NCT02069470 on ClinicalTrials.gov. Retrospectively registered, 1/29/2014.
Project description:Denmark has inferior cancer survival rates compared with many European countries. The main reason for this is suggested to be late diagnosis at advanced cancer stages. Cancer diagnostic work-up begins in general practice in 85% of all cancer cases. Thus, general practitioners (GPs) play a key role in the diagnostic process. The latest Danish Cancer Plan included continuing medical education (CME) on early cancer diagnosis in general practice to improve early diagnosis. This dual aims of this protocol are, first, to describe the conceptualisation, operationalisation and implementation of the CME and, second, to describe the study design and outcomes chosen to evaluate the effects of the CME.The intervention is a CME in early cancer diagnosis targeting individual GPs. It was developed by a step-wise approach. Barriers for early cancer diagnosis at GP level were identified systematically and analysed using the behaviour system involving capability, opportunity and motivation described by Michie et al. The study will be designed as a geographical cluster randomised stepped wedge study. The study population counts 836 GPs from 417 general practices in the Central Denmark Region, geographically divided into eight clusters. GPs from each cluster will be invited to a CME meeting at a certain date three weeks apart. The primary outcomes will be primary care interval and GP referral rate on cancer suspicion. Data will be obtained from national registries, GP-completed forms on patients referred to cancer fast-track pathways and GP-completed online questionnaires before and after the intervention.To our knowledge, this will be the first study to measure the effect of a theory-based CME in early cancer diagnosis at three levels: GP knowledge and attitude, GP activity and patient outcomes. The achieved knowledge will contribute to the understanding of whether and how general practice's ability to perform cancer diagnosis may be improved.Registered as NCT02069470 on ClinicalTrials.gov.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Early detection of lung cancer is crucial as the prognosis depends on the disease stage. Chest radiographs has been the principal diagnostic tool for general practitioners (GPs), but implies a potential risk of false negative results, while computed tomography (CT) has a higher sensitivity. The aim of this study was to describe the implementation of direct access to low-dose CT (LDCT) from general practice. METHODS:We conducted a cohort study nested in a randomised study. A total of 119 general practices with 266 GPs were randomised into two groups. Intervention GPs were offered direct access to chest LDCT combined with a Continuing Medical Education (CME) meeting on lung cancer diagnosis. RESULTS:During a 19-month period, 648 patients were referred to LDCT (0.18/1000 adults on GP list/month). Half of the patients needed further diagnostic work-up, and 15 (2.3%, 95% CI: 1.3-3.8%) of the patients had lung cancer; 60% (95% CI: 32.3-83.7%) in a localised stage. The GP referral rate was 61% higher for CME participants compared to non-participants. CONCLUSION:Of all patients referred to LDCT, 2.3% were diagnosed with lung cancer with a favourable stage distribution. Half of the referred patients needed additional diagnostic work-up. There was an association between participation in CME and use of CT scan. The proportion of cancers diagnosed through the usual fast-track evaluation was 2.2 times higher in the group of CME-participating GPs. The question remains if primary care case-finding with LDCT is a better option for patients having signs and symptoms indicating lung cancer than a screening program. Whether open access to LDCT may provide earlier diagnosis of lung cancer is yet unknown and a randomised trial is required to assess any effect on outcome. TRIAL REGISTRATION:Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01527214.
Project description:Detection of cancer in general practice is challenging because symptoms are diverse. Even so-called alarm symptoms have low positive predictive values of cancer. Nevertheless, appropriate referral is crucial. As 85% of cancer patients initiate their cancer diagnostic pathway in general practice, a Continuing Medical Education meeting (CME-M) in early cancer diagnosis was launched in Denmark in 2012. We aimed to investigate the effect of the CME-M on the primary care interval, patient contacts with general practice and use of urgent cancer referrals.A before-after study was conducted in the Central Denmark Region included 396 general practices, which were assigned to one of eight geographical clusters. Practices were invited to participate in the CME-M with three-week intervals between clusters. Based on register data, we calculated urgent referral rates and patient contacts with general practice before referral. Information about primary care intervals was collected by requesting general practitioners to complete a one-page form for each urgent referral during an 8-month period around the time of the CME-Ms. CME-M practices were compared with non-participating reference practices by analysing before-after differences.Forty percent of all practices participated in the CME-M. There was a statistically significant reduction in the number of total contacts with general practice from urgently referred patients in the month preceding the referral and an increase in the proportion of patients who waited 14 days or more in general practice from the reported date of symptom presentation to the referral date from before to after the CME-M in the CME-M group compared to the reference group.We found a reduced number of total patient contacts with general practice within the month preceding an urgent referral and an increase in the reported primary care intervals of urgently referred patients in the CME-M group. The trend towards higher urgent referral rates and longer primary care intervals may suggest raised awareness of unspecific cancer symptoms, which could cause the GP to register an earlier date of first symptom presentation. The standardised CME-M may contribute to optimising the timing and the use of urgent cancer referral.NCT02069470 on ClinicalTrials.gov. Retrospectively registered, 1/29/2014.
Project description:Studies show that endangered work ability (EWA) can be maintained or restored through medical rehabilitation (MR). For patients, general practitioners (GP) represent an important point of access to MR in outpatient care. However, many different barriers and shortcomings hinder GPs in both timely detection of the need for MR and the recognition of its potentials for their EWA-patients. These are necessary if GPs are to adequately inform patients about MR options and successfully support applications for MR. This study describes the evaluation of a continuing medical education (CME) module designed to improve rehabilitation-related practical performance of GPs regarding a) subjective satisfaction of GPs with the CME module, b) stability of attitudes and knowledge over time regarding rehabilitation, and c) subjective and objective changes in MR-related competencies needed to support MR applications.This study is an open, non-randomised, pre-post-intervention study. The intervention involves a CME module for GPs (n = 1365) in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt on the topic of medical rehabilitation in connection with the federal German pension fund (Deutsche Rentenversicherung). The module will be initially held as regularly scheduled meetings in moderated GP quality circles (QC), and then offered as a written self-study unit. At the end it will be evaluated by the GPs. The study's primary focus is on the organizational practice as measured by the number of approved MR applications supported by medical reports submitted by the participating GPs in the 6 months before and 6 months after the CME module. Other study aims involve measuring self-perceived competencies of GPs, as well as their attitudes towards and knowledge of rehabilitation (both upon completing the CME and 6 months later). In addition, the level of satisfaction with the CME module will be analysed among participating GPs and QC moderators (as CME facilitators).Implementing targeted CME on complex topics such as those involving barriers is possible, even promising, when using QCs and their moderators. Of particular importance is how aware moderating physicians are of the relevance of MR need detection and access.The ethics committee of the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg has registered this study under the number 2014-13. The study will be reported on in peer-reviewed journals and at national and international conferences. The results will be available to current and future initiatives aiming to improve detection of MR need and making MR accessible to EWEC patients needing such support to minimize the effects of chronic disease on their livess.German Clinical Trials Register (ID number DRKS00006188) and WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, Universal Trial Number (UTN) U1111-1158-8334.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:This study assessed the impact of a Dementia Education Workshop on the confidence and attitudes of general practitioner (GP) registrars (GPR) and GP supervisors (GPS) in relation to the early diagnosis and management of dementia. DESIGN:Pretest post-test research design. SETTING:Continuing medical education in Australia. PARTICIPANTS:332 GPR and 114 GPS. INTERVENTIONS:Registrars participated in a 3-hour face-to-face workshop while supervisors participated in a 2-hour-modified version designed to assist with the education and supervision of registrars. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:The General Practitioners Confidence and Attitude Scale for Dementia was used to assess overall confidence, attitude to care and engagement. A t-test for paired samples was used to identify differences from preworkshop (T1) to postworkshop (T2) for each GP group. A t-test for independent samples was undertaken to ascertain differences between each workshop group. A Cohen's d was calculated to measure the effect size of any difference between T1 and T2 scores. RESULTS:Significant increases in scores were recorded for Confidence in Clinical Abilities, Attitude to Care and Engagement between pretest and post-test periods. GPR exhibited the greatest increase in scores for Confidence in Clinical Abilities and Engagement. CONCLUSIONS:Targeted educational interventions can improve attitude, increase confidence and reduce negative attitudes towards engagement of participating GPs.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Daily smokers and hazardous drinkers are high-risk patients, developing 2-4 times more complications after surgery. Preoperative smoking and alcohol cessation for four to eight weeks prior to surgery halves this complication rate. The patients' preoperative contact with the surgical departments might be too brief for the hospital to initiate these programmes. Therefore, it was relevant to evaluate a new clinical practice which combined the general practitioner's (GP) referral to surgery with a referral to a smoking and alcohol intervention in the surgical pathway. METHODS: The design was an exploratory prospective trial. The outcome measured was the number of patients referred to a preoperative smoking and alcohol cessation programme at the same time as being referred for elective surgery by their GP. The participants consisted of 72 high-risk patients who were referred for elective surgery by 47 local participating GPs. The GPs, nurses, and specialists in internal medicine, prehabilitation and surgery developed new clinical practice guidelines based on the literature and interviews with 11 local GPs about the specific barriers for implementing a smoking and alcohol cessation programme. The role of the GP was to be the gatekeeper: identifying daily smokers and hazardous drinkers when referring them to surgery; handing out information on risk reduction; and referring those patients identified to a preoperative smoking and alcohol cessation programme. The role of the hospital was to contact these patients to initiate smoking and alcohol cessation at the hospital out-patient clinic for life-style intervention. RESULTS: The GPs increased their referral to the smoking and alcohol cessation programme from 0% to 10% (7/72 patients) in the study period. CONCLUSION: The effect of the study was limited in integrating the efforts of primary care providers and hospital surgical departments in increasing the up-take of preoperative smoking and alcohol cessation programmes aimed at smokers and harmful drinkers referred for surgery. New strategies for cooperation between GPs and surgical departments are urgently needed. TRIAL REGISTRATION: J.nr. 2005-54-1781 in Danish Data Protection Agency. J.nr. 07 268136 in Scientific Ethical Committee for Copenhagen and Frederiksberg Municipalities.
Project description:Primary health-care professionals play an important role in the treatment and prevention of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI). Continuing Medical Education (CME)-courses can influence the knowledge and behavior of health-care professionals concerning STI. We performed a prospective cohort study to evaluate if the individual and online e-learning program "The STI-consultation", which uses the Commitment-to-Change (CtC)-method, is able to improve the knowledge, attitude and behavior of Dutch General Practitioners (GPs), concerning the STI-consultation. This e-learning program is an individual, accredited, online CME-program, which is freely available for all GPs and GP-trainees in the Netherlands.In total 2192 participants completed the questionnaire before completing the e-learning program and 249 participants completed the follow-up questionnaire after completing the e-learning program. The effect of the program on their knowledge, attitude and behavior concerning the STI-consultation was evaluated.In total 193 participants formulated 601 learning points that matched the learning objectives of the program. The knowledge and attitude of the participants improved, which persisted up to two years after completing the program. Another 179 participants formulated a total of 261 intended changes concerning the sexual history taking, additional investigation and treatment of STI, 97.2% of these changes was partially or fully implemented in daily practice. Also, 114 participants formulated a total of 180 "unintended" changes in daily practice. These changes concerned the attitude of participants towards STI and the working conditions concerning the STI-consultation.The individual, online e-learning program "The STI-consultation", which uses the CtC-method, has a small but lasting, positive effect on the knowledge, attitude, and behavior of GPs concerning the STI-consultation.
Project description:INTRODUCTION: This paper reports on an ongoing primary care audit of cancer referrals undertaken in Scotland in 2006-2007 and 2007-2008. METHODS: General practitioners (GPs) in Scotland were asked to review all new cancer diagnoses within their practice during the preceding year. RESULTS: 4181 patients were identified in year 1 and 12 294 in year 2. The pathway taken for patients to present to, and be referred from, their GP has been analysed for 7430 of the 12 294 patients identified within year 2 across five separate health boards. The time from first symptoms to presentation to a GP varied between tumour types, being the longest (median 30 days) for head and neck cancers and the shortest (median 2 days) for bladder cancer. In all, 25% of patients within the following tumour groups waited longer than 2 months to present to their GP following first symptoms: prostate, colorectal, melanoma and head and neck cancers. Once patients had presented to their GP, those with prostate and lung cancer were referred later (median time 11 days) than those with breast cancer (median time 2 days). The priority with which GPs referred patients varied considerably between tumour groups (breast cancer 77.5% 'urgent' compared with prostate cancer 44.7% 'urgent'). In one health board the proportion of cancer patients being referred urgently increased from 46% to 58% between the first and second audit. CONCLUSION: Our data show that there are very different patterns of presentation and referral for patients with cancer, with some tumour groups being more likely to be associated with a delayed diagnosis than others.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Healthcare professionals' (Oncologists, doctors, and nurses) physical activity (PA) recommendations impact patients living with cancer PA levels. General practitioners (GPs) monitor the overall health of patients living with cancer throughout their treatment journey. This is the first study to explore GP's knowledge, attitudes and practices of PA for patients living with cancer. METHODS:GPs who see patients living with cancer regularly (n = 111) completed a survey based on The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB). Participants (GP's) reported knowledge, attitudes, perceived behaviour control and subjective norms of PA within the cancer population. GP recommendation and referral rates of PA were reported. Principal component analysis was conducted to establish a set of survey items aligned to TPB constructs (attitude, subjective norms, perceived control), and multiple regression analyses characterised associations between these predictor variables and (a) recommendation; and (b) referral-of PA to cancer patients. RESULTS:GPs (n = 111) recommended PA to 41-60% of their patients and referred 1-20% to PA programs. Multiple regression models significantly predicted the percent of patients recommended PA, p < .0005 adj. R2 = 0.40 and referred PA, p < .0005, adj. R2 = 0.21. GP attitudes and perceived behavioural control and GP's own activity levels were significant predictors of whether patients were recommended and referred for PA, p<0.05. CONCLUSION:GPs reported positive attitudes and perceptions towards promoting PA for their patients living with cancer. Despite having a positive correlation between PA recommendations and referral rates, a gap was evident between GP's PA beliefs and their individual referral practices. More GP's willing to promote and refer their patients for PA, would improve the physical and mental health outcomes of the cancer population.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:To investigate how many general practitioner (GP)-referred venous thromboembolic events (VTEs) are diagnosed during 1 year in one geographical region and to investigate the (urgent) referral pathway of VTE diagnoses, including the role of laboratory D-dimer testing. DESIGN:Historical cohort study. SETTING:GP patients of 47 general practices in a demarcated geographical region of 161 503 inhabitants in the Netherlands. PARTICIPANTS:We analysed all 895 primary care patients in whom either the GP determined a D-dimer value or who had a diagnostic work-up for suspected VTE in a non-academic hospital during 2015. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES:The primary outcomes of this study were the total number of VTEs per year and the diagnostic pathways-including the role of GP determined D-dimer testing-of patients urgently referred to secondary care for suspected VTE. Additionally, we explored the use of an age-adjusted D-dimer cut-off. RESULTS:The annual VTE incidence was 0.9 per 1000 inhabitants. GPs annually ordered 5.1 D-dimer tests per 1000 inhabitants. Of 470 urgently GP-referred patients, 31.3% had a VTE. Of those urgently referred based on clinical assessment only (without D-dimer testing), 73.8% (96/130) had a VTE; based on clinical assessment and laboratory D-dimer testing yielded 15.0% (51/340) VTE. Applying age-adjusted D-dimer cut-offs to all patients aged 50 years or older resulted in a reduction of positive D-dimer results from 97.9% to 79.4%, without missing any VTE. CONCLUSIONS:Although D-dimer testing contributes to the diagnostic work-up of VTE, GPs have a high detection rate for VTE in patients who they urgently refer to secondary care based on clinical assessment only.