GPimED: General Practice: improving management of Eating Disorders: Can a one hour online educational intervention improve the detection and management of patients with Eating Disorders by General Practice Trainees?
AuthorConway, Jennifer Alice
Document TypeMasters Research thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2020 Jennifer Alice Conway
GPimED: Can a one- hour on-line learning module improve early diagnosis and management of Eating Disorders by General Practice Trainees? PROBLEM STATEMENT Eating disorders are a serious and potentially life-threatening group of illnesses within the community. The literature shows that diagnosis and management of these illnesses are inadequately covered during medical school and subsequent General Practice training. This can result in a delay in diagnosis and appropriate referral thus significantly contributing to patient morbidity and mortality plus increased financial burden on the community. The literature demonstrates that patients with ED present repeatedly to General Practice (GP) with a myriad of signs and symptoms There is often delay in diagnosis due to varied reasons. The literature also finds that this delay coupled with lack of appropriate management can greatly exacerbate the morbidity and potential mortality. For example, within this group of disorders, Anorexia Nervosa (AN) has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness with suicide rates 32 times higher than the general population and a mortality rate of 10%. General Practitioners (GPs) are often time poor and lack the knowledge to adequately manage patients with ED Online education for GPs is becoming more popular as it is cost effective, convenient and allows rural and remote GPs access to educational material they might not otherwise be able to access if it is available only via face to face delivery AIM The aim of this study is to determine whether a one-hour online learning module developed to upskill General Practitioners in the recognition and management of Eating Disorders improves the performance of GP trainees. SIGNFICANCE This study will shed light on the effectiveness of online education in upskilling GP trainees and if the ED module is successful, it may lead to improved treatment of patients with evolving or established eating disorders in the General Practice setting. It will potentially reduce the rates of delayed diagnosis resulting in improved outcomes. The literature indicates that patients with an ED present up to 5 times more frequently to primary care than demographically matched peers. General Practice is thus ideally placed to recognize these patients, to make a timely diagnosis and initiate appropriate investigation, management and referrals. The literature also indicates when diagnosis and appropriate intervention occurs within the first three years of the disorder developing, there is a greater than 40% chance of complete recovery. On November 1st 2019, the Federal Government initiated $110 million in extra funding for increased support for patients with a serious ED. This support can only be accessed if the patient as an Eating Disorder Plan completed is be done by the GP who has performed appropriate screening and provided the requisite history, examination and investigations. METHODS The trial design was a randomized, parallel-group study. Participants were recruited from the Victorian General Practice Training Consortia MCCC and EVGPT. The comparator was a general Youth Mental health module. Baseline surveys including demographic details plus a clinical case designed to assess baseline competence in recognising a probable eating disorder case and management thereafter. Following randomisation to either the ED module arm (intervention) or control arm, follow up surveys were completed after 6 weeks, quantitative evaluation was conducted using clinical scenarios presented as case studies in the format of Key Feature Problems (KFPs) which are a component of the FRACGP examination. RESULTS Despite our best efforts, there were only small number of recruits- 15 respondents with 8 completing all components of the study. Despite the small sample, there was measurable improvement in many parameters assessed cross both arms of the trial. In particular, an increase in the identification of ED as a differential diagnosis and improved referrals to health professionals considered integral to the evidence based best practice multidisciplinary team approach to ED management.
Keywordseating disorders; general practice; early diagnosis; early intervention; improved management; online module
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