Improving Obesity Outcomes through Interactive Web-Based Clinical Skills Training

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Department of Health and Human Services
Award Year:
Phase I
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1506 E. Franklin St., #200, CHAPEL HILL, NC, 27514-
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(919) 960-8118
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(919) 960-8118
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DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Though the USPSTF recommends all clinicians intervene with obese adults (AHRQ, 2003), less than half of patients are assessed, counseled, or otherwise treated for obesity. This project will create an innovative web-based continuing professional development program for primary care providers (PCPs) available at: // to improve PCP care of obese adults. Existing educational paradigms favor didactic learning over skills training and have been ineffectivein improving PCP core competencies. The program will instead focus on teaching core physician competencies related to assessment and treatment of adult obesity, identifying potential practice improvements, and guiding implementation of these improvements. Key areas such as lack of physician confidence in treating obesity, negative attitudes towards overweight and obese patients, and barriers such as reimbursement issues and limited time will be addressed. Program materials will include performance improvement guides, patient health improvement tools, a resource center, and approximately 4 hours of AMA PRA Category 1 Credit . Innovation: The program will be tailored to the learner's professional experience/training and practice setting, yielding an individualized training program. Innovation in both instructional design and functionality will be seen in 1) interactive clinical case scenarios that include a simulated electronic medical record (sEMR) for clinical queries, and2) remote live standardized patient (RLSP) interviews performed via Internet chat. Through the RLSP users are able to practice specific clinical skills (e.g., screening or discussing weight issues). Feedback based on the RLSP will far surpass standard correct/incorrect answers and instead identify deficiencies and recommended response to areas of low performance. Investigators/Consultants: The investigators and company have expertise in developing, deploying and supporting web-based training for health professionals. An expert panel will oversee content creation and training to ensure it focuses on best practice. Approach: Phase I will develop the curriculum with a carefully planned formative analysis involving literature review, target audience needs analysis surveys, semi-structured interviews, an active expert panel, and usability testing of a prototype. At the completion of Phase I, the expert panel will assess if Phase I milestones have been met and if the project should proceed. Deficiencies will be addressed, and the results presented to the expert panel for re-review. An evaluative study in Phase II will assess if the intervention improves PCP's core competencies and demonstrates better training as shown by competency, performance, clinical, and communication skills related to obesity prevention and treatment. When physicians act to integrate specific, step-by-step, measurable improvements into their practices, patient outcomes will ultimately be improved. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Primary care providers (PCPs) are positioned to assist the one third of Americans who are obese as well as adult patients at risk for obesity - yet there is a dramatic practice gap between the recommended care and the care that patients are receiving. Since less than half of patients are assessed, counseled, or otherwise treated for obesity, Web-based training for health professionals in the proper assessment of overweight patients, screening and treatment for comorbid disorders, and appropriate communication could havea significant and dramatic effect on the obesity epidemic. At this time, no such training exists; there is no program available to health professionals that offers a scalable, cost-effective, solution focusing on improving practice and impacting patient outcomes.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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