A controlled evaluation of a national continuing medical education programme designed to improve family physicians' implementation of diabetes-specific clinical practice guidelines
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AIMS: New approaches to continuing medical education will facilitate the implementation of clinical practice guidelines. This study assessed the short and long-term impact of a 7-h, small group workshop on family physicians' attitude, knowledge and self-reported practice patterns regarding diabetes mellitus. METHODS: One hundred and seventy-seven of 1807 family physicians who participated in this nationwide workshop, and 113 non-participant controls completed two validated questionnaires. Participants completed one questionnaire before the workshop and a second equivalent questionnaire 1 month later. Non-participant controls also completed the two questionnaires 1 month apart. Between 8 and 24 months later, these individuals were mailed the same questionnaire they completed on the first occasion; 143 participants and 50 controls returned this third questionnaire. RESULTS: Participants were more likely to be female (P = 0.03), not certified in family practice (P = 0.02), in a smaller centre (P = 0.0005), recent medical graduates (P = 0.001) and seeing fewer patients per month (P = 0.01) than controls. Compared to controls, participants had improved their attitude (P<0.0001), knowledge (P = 0.04) and self-reported practice patterns (P<0.002) regarding diabetes after 1 month but not after 1 year. CONCLUSIONS: An interactive, small group, diabetes continuing education programme effectively disseminates practice guidelines to family physicians. The impact of such a programme declines after 1 year.