Australian Journal of Primary Health Australian Journal of Primary Health Society
The issues influencing community health services and primary health care
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Feasibility study of a communication and education asthma intervention for general practitioners in Australia

Smita Shah A B J , Brett G. Toelle B C , Susan M. Sawyer D E F , Jessica K. Roydhouse A B G , Peter Edwards H I , Tim Usherwood B and Christine R. Jenkins B C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Primary Health Care Education and Research Unit, Primary and Community Health Network, Sydney West Area Health Service, Sydney, NSW 2145, Australia.

B Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.

C Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, Glebe, NSW 2051, Australia.

D Centre for Adolescent Health, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Vic. 3052, Australia.

E Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, Vic. 3052, Australia.

F Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Melbourne, Vic. 3052, Australia.

G Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.

H General Practitioner, Merrylands, NSW 2160, Australia.

I The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

J Corresponding author. Email: smita_shah@wsahs.nsw.gov.au

Australian Journal of Primary Health 16(1) 75-80 https://doi.org/10.1071/PY09056
Published: 17 March 2010

Abstract

The Physician Asthma Care Education (PACE) program significantly improved asthma prescribing and communication behaviours of primary care paediatricians in the USA. We tested the feasibility and acceptability of a modified PACE program with Australian general practitioners (GP) and measured its impact on self-reported consulting behaviours in a pilot study. Recruitment took place through a local GP division. Twenty-five GP completed two PACE Australia workshops, which incorporated paediatric asthma management consistent with Australian asthma guidelines and focussed on effective communication strategies. Program feasibility, usefulness and perceived benefit were measured by questionnaires before the workshop and 1 month later, and an evaluation questionnaire after each workshop. GP were universally enthusiastic and supportive of the workshops. The most useful elements they reported were communication skills, case studies, device demonstrations and the toolkit provided. GP self reports of the perceived helpfulness of the key communication strategies and their confidence in their application and reported frequency of use increased significantly after the workshops. The PACE program shows promise in improving the way in which Australian GP manage asthma consultations, particularly with regard to doctor–patient communication. The impact of the modified PACE Australia program on the processes and outcomes of GP care of children with asthma is now being measured in a randomised controlled trial.

Additional keywords: clinician–patient communication, paediatric asthma management, primary health care.


Acknowledgements

We thank the general practitioners who participated in this study, and the Australian Government for their financial support of this feasibility study under the Asthma Management Program. We are grateful for the helpful advice from Professors Noreen Clark, Michael Cabana, Jo Douglass, Peter Gibson and Guy Marks.


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