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Impact of an educational intervention combining clinical obesity preceptorship with electronic networking tools on primary care professionals: a prospective study

  • Baillargeon, Jean-Patrice1
  • St-Cyr-Tribble, Denise2
  • Xhignesse, Marianne1
  • Brown, Christine1
  • Carpentier, André C.1
  • Fortin, Martin1, 3
  • Grant, Andrew4
  • Simoneau-Roy, Judith1
  • Langlois, Marie-France1
  • 1 Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, J1H 5N4, Canada , Sherbrooke (Canada)
  • 2 Nursing school, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, J1H 5N4, Canada , Sherbrooke (Canada)
  • 3 Centre Intégré Universitaire de Santé et de services sociaux du Saguenay-Lac St-Jean, Chicoutimi, Québec, G7H 5H6, Canada , Chicoutimi (Canada)
  • 4 Collaborative Research for Effective Diagnosis research unit, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, J1H 5N4, Canada , Sherbrooke (Canada)
Published Article
BMC Medical Education
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Oct 14, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s12909-020-02248-5
Springer Nature


BackgroundPrimary care providers’ (PCPs) attitude toward obesity is often negative, and their confidence level for helping patients manage their weight is low. Continuing professional development (CPD) on the subject of obesity is often based on a single activity using a traditional passive approach such as lectures known to have little effect on performance or patient outcomes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of an educational intervention for obesity management on PCPs’ attitude, self-efficacy, practice changes and patient-related outcomes.MethodsProspective interventional study with 12 months follow-up. A two-day clinical obesity preceptorship was offered where participants were actively involved in competence building using real-life situations, in addition to electronic networking tools, including a discussion forum and interactive monthly webinars. Thirty-five participants (12 nurses and 23 physicians) from seven Family medicine groups were enrolled. Questionnaires were used to evaluate the impact on primary care nurses’ and physicians’ attitudes and self-efficacy for obesity management. Practice changes and patient outcomes were evaluated using clinical vignettes, de-identified electronic patient records and qualitative analyses from group interviews.ResultsPhysicians’ general attitude towards patients with obesity was improved (61 ± 22 mm vs 85 ± 17 mm, p < 0.001). Self-efficacy for obesity management and lifestyle counselling were also improved immediately and 1 year after the intervention (all Ps < 0.05). De-identified patient records and clinical vignettes both showed improvement in recording of weight, waist circumference and evaluation of readiness to change lifestyle (all Ps < 0.05) that was confirmed by group interviews. Also, 15% of patients who were prospectively registered for weight management had lost more than 5% of their initial weight at the time of their last visit (P < 0.0001, median follow-up of 152 days).ConclusionA multimodal educational intervention for obesity management can improve PCPs’attitude and self-efficacy for obesity management and lifestyle counselling. This translates into beneficial practice changes and patient-related outcomes.Trial Identifier: NCT01385397. Retrospectively registered, 28 June 2011.

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