COMMENTARY

Passive Dissemination of Printed Educational Materials in Medicine Has No or Negligible Effect on Patient Outcomes

 


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This is the Medscape Medical Minute. I'm Dr. George Lundberg.

Hold on to your hats. Does the intervention by dissemination of printed educational materials, such as monographs, medical journals, and guidelines, to healthcare professionals affect healthcare process outcomes or patient outcomes? Seven Canadian investigators have published the results of their study of 23 rigorously selected reports found in 6 large databases, including randomized and controlled clinical trials, controlled before-and-after studies, and interrupted time series analyses to determine whether printed educational materials affected professional performance or patient outcomes when compared to no intervention.[1] They found, as published in 2008 in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, in aggregate, an absolute median difference of 4.3% to 13.6% improvement in categorical and continuous process outcomes, respectively, but an effect of negative 4.3% to negative 20% for categorical and continuous patient outcomes. These early data call into question the whole dogma that printed educational materials used by physicians have a net beneficial effect on patients.

This article is selected from Medscape Best Evidence.[2] I'm Dr. George Lundberg.

 


 

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