Academic detailing of general practitioners by a respiratory physician for diagnosis and management of refractory breathlessness: A randomised pilot study Organization, structure and delivery of healthcare

Publication Type:
Journal Article
BMC Health Services Research, 2015, 15 (1)
Issue Date:
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© 2015 Collier et al.; licensee BioMed Central. Background: Academic detailing (AD; also known as educational visiting) facilitates the translation of evidence into practice and has been widely adopted internationally to facilitate practice change. The potential of AD linked to a specific patient and delivered by a specialist physician to general practitioners has not been evaluated. This pilot study assessed the feasibility and acceptability of AD on the knowledge and confidence of GPs caring for people with advanced cancer who had breathlessness at the end of life. Methods: In this randomised controlled pilot, 35 patient/GP dyads were randomised to AD or usual care. Key messages included: ensuring reversible causes were optimally treated; non-pharmacological and pharmacological treatments were considered; and oxygen considered for hypoxaemic patients. Results: Acceptability: The majority of GPs randomised to AD agreed to participate, reporting benefits to practice. The majority of GPs in the control group requested a copy of academic detailing written materials at study completion. Feasibility: AD visits to GPs' offices could be timetabled reasonably easily, with 24 detailing visits occurring. Self-reported knowledge and beliefs: Ninety two percent of GPs reported the topics covered in the AD sessions were useful, with 83 % reporting an increase in knowledge and confidence. AD sessions resulted in 58 % of GPs reporting a change in their approach to the management of breathlessness. By contrast, 81 % of the usual care group reported low confidence in the management and knowledge of breathlessness. Conclusion: AD was acceptable and feasible to participating GPs. This pilot supports proceeding to a fully powered study.
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