87 - Evaluation of a Novel Educational Method: The Rheumatology Toolbox

Sunday, November 6, 2011: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM
Hall F2 - Poster Hall (McCormick Place West)
Richard Conway1, John J. Carey1, Ronan Kavanagh2 and Robert J. Coughlan1, 1Galway University Hospitals, Galway, Ireland, 2Galway Clinic, Galway, Ireland
Presentation Number: 87

Background/Purpose: 

Management guidelines for many rheumatic diseases are published in specialty rheumatology literature but rarely in general medical journals. Musculoskeletal disorders comprise 14% of all consultations in primary care. Formal post-graduate training in rheumatology is limited or absent for many primary care practitioners. Demand for rheumatology care exceeds supply in many countries, a problem expected to increase in the coming decades. Primary care practitioners can be trained to effectively treat complex diseases and have expressed a preference for interactive educational courses. 

Our aim was to evaluate a novel educational method for disseminating current knowledge on rheumatology disorders to primary care practitioners.

Method: 

The Rheumatology Family Practice Toolbox is designed as an intensive 1/2 day course designed to offer up to date information to primary care practitioners on the latest diagnostic and treatment guidelines for common rheumatic diseases including early inflammatory arthritis, gout, ankylosing spondylitis, back pain, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. The course structure involved a short lecture on each topic and 3 short practical workshops on arthrocentesis, joint injection and DXA interpretation. Participants evaluated their knowledge and educational experience before, during and after the course rating aspects on a 5-point Likert scale.

Result: 

32 primary care practitioners attended, who had a mean of 15 years experience in their specialty. 66% completed all 3 course assessments. The mean number of educational symposia they attended in the previous 5 years was 15, with and average of <1 in rheumatology. 100% of respondents agreed believed course participation had significantly changed their practice. Participants stated the toolbox improved their knowledge of, and confidence in diagnosing and managing common rheumatologic disorders, and would improve the quality of their care and referrals, Table 1.

Table 1. Comparison of the pre and post course confidence of course participants for diagnosing and managing common rheumatic disorders.

 

                            Diagnosis

                        Management

Condition

Pre-course

Post-course

Condition

Pre-course

Post-course

Osteoarthritis

80%

95%

Osteoarthritis

60%

95%

Fibromyalgia

20%

57%

Fibromyalgia

16%

52%

Gout

72%

95%

Gout

68%

100%

Inflammatory Arthritis

52%

86%

Inflammatory Arthritis

16%

76%

Osteoporosis

80%

95%

Osteoporosis

68%

86%

Back Pain

64%

90%

Back Pain

56%

86%

Ankylosing Spondylitis

12%

86%

Ankylosing Spondylitis

8%

67%

Conclusion: 

Post-graduate training in rheumatic diseases is uncommon in primary care. The Rheumatology Toolbox is an effective educational method for disseminating current knowledge in rheumatology to primary care physicians and improved participant’s self-assessed competence in diagnosis and management of common rheumatic diseases. Further studies are needed to determine whether this improves the quality of patient care and rheumatology referrals.


Keywords: education, medical

Disclosure: R. Conway, None; J. J. Carey, None; R. Kavanagh, None; R. J. Coughlan, None.