Publications (2)6.89 Total impact
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ABSTRACT: GPs are increasingly expected to meet the needs of patients concerned about their risk of inherited breast cancer, but may lack skills or confidence to use complex management guidelines. We developed an evidence-based, multifaceted intervention intended to promote confidence and skills in this area. To evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention in improving GP confidence in managing patients concerned about genetic risk of breast cancer. Cluster randomized controlled trial. General practices in the Grampian region of Scotland. GPs and the patients they referred for genetic counselling for risk of breast cancer. GPs' self-reported confidence in four activities related to genetics; rates of referral of patients at elevated genetic risk; and referred patients' understanding of cancer risk factors. No statistically significant differences were observed between intervention and control arms in the primary or secondary outcomes. A possible effect of the intervention on the proportion of referred patients who were at elevated risk could not be discounted. Only a small proportion of intervention GPs attended the educational session, were aware or the software, or made use of it in practice. No convincing evidence of the effectiveness of the intervention was found, probably reflecting barriers to its use in routine practice.
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ABSTRACT: To evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of two complementary interventions, using familial breast cancer as a model condition. The primary care intervention consisted of providing computerised referral guidelines and related education to GPs. The nurse counsellor intervention evaluated genetic nurses as substitutes for specialist geneticists in the initial assessment and management of 2, respectively. Taking the trials together, the costs were sensitive to the grades of doctors and the time spent in consultant supervision of the nurse counsellor, but they were only slightly affected by the grade of nurse counsellor, the selected discount rate and the lifespan of equipment. Computer-based systems in the primary care intervention cannot be recommended for widespread use without further evaluation and testing in real practice settings. Genetic nurse counsellors may be a cost-effective alternative to assessment by doctors. This trial does not provide definitive evidence that the general policy of employing genetics nurse counsellors is sound, as it was based on only three individuals. Future evaluations of computer-based decision support systems for primary care must first address their efficacy under ideal conditions, identify barriers to the use of such systems in practice, and provide evidence of the impact of the policy of such systems in routine practice. The nurse counsellor trial should be replicated in other settings to provide reassurance of the generalisability of the intervention and other models of nurse-based assessment, such as in outreach clinics, should be developed and evaluated. The design of future evaluations of professional substitution should also address issues such as the effect of different levels of training and experience of nurse counsellors, and learning effects.
University of Aberdeen
Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom
- Health Services Research Unit