Impact of an educational intervention on general practitioners' skills in cognitive behavioural strategies: a randomised controlled trial

Grant A Blashki, Leon Piterman, Graham N Meadows, David M Clarke, Vasuki Prabaharan, Jane M Gunn, Fiona K Judd
Medical Journal of Australia 2008 June 16, 188 (12): S129-32

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the impact of an educational intervention on general practitioners' skills in cognitive behavioural strategies (CBS).

DESIGN: Randomised controlled trial, with baseline and post-training measurement of GP competency in CBS using standardised simulated patient consultations, conducted between January 2005 and December 2006.

PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: 55 GPs in Victoria with a special interest in mental health issues.

INTERVENTION: A 20-hour multifaceted educational program facilitated by mental health experts, incorporating rehearsal of CBS and provision of resources such as patient education material and worksheets.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Objective ratings of videotaped consultations of a standardised simulated patient using the Cognitive Therapy Scale.

RESULTS: 32 doctors completed all phases of the intervention and the evaluation protocol. The intervention group showed greater improvements than the control group in both general therapeutic and specific CBS skills after the training.

CONCLUSION: Competency in CBS in highly motivated GPs can be improved by a brief training intervention.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number -- ISRCTN62481969.

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