Article

Referring physicians' knowledge of hand surgery.

Hand 09/2010; 5(3):278-85. DOI: 10.1007/s11552-009-9256-x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Hand surgeons rely on referrals from general providers. Appropriate referral is dependent upon referring physicians having an understanding of the problem and available treatments. This study evaluates the referring physicians' knowledge and perceptions of basic hand problems and their treatment. This study also evaluates the impact of a brief lecture on our referring physicians' understanding of hand issues. A survey instrument was administered to referring physicians. The instrument addressed general hand knowledge and perceptions toward hand surgery. The physicians also attended a lecture on general hand problems and their treatments. The survey was repeated 2 weeks post-lecture. Subjects had a pre-lecture knowledge score of 65% correct and post-lecture a score of 85%, p < 0.05. The participants were knowledgeable about common hand problems, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Knowledge gaps did exist, for example, only 37% recognized the symptoms of basilar thumb arthritis. Initially, the referring physicians had less positive views about surgical interventions, such as surgery to help the pain of basilar thumb arthritis. After the lecture, the responders had significantly more favorable attitudes toward surgery. This study found that referring physicians had variable knowledge about common hand problems, and they had doubts relating to the efficacy of some hand surgeries. This study also found that a directed lecture improved these providers' knowledge and their perceptions of hand surgical interventions. Hand surgeons can improve their referring physicians understanding and perceptions of hand surgery through a directed grand rounds type lecture.

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