Background on Provider Education
What are provider education strategies?
- Interventions that train qualified health care providers to counsel or provide advice to individuals in order to encourage them to prevent motor vehicle injuries.
- This type of intervention is geared towards health care providers working in clinical settings including physicians, nurses, dentists, dieticians, etc.
- These interventions can enhance providers’ knowledge and skills related to counseling individuals about behaviors related to motor vehicle safety (e.g., using of car or booster seats, avoiding drinking and driving, using seat belts, exercising caution in pedestrian behaviors). This training offers health care providers access to information and resources about:
- the benefits of avoiding drinking and driving (and other aggressive driving behaviors) and how to assess driver impairment from drinking and driving;
- how to improve culturally competent communication between individuals and health care providers;
- the benefits of safety restraints and how to use them (e.g., car seats, bicycle helmets); and
- the benefits of safe pedestrian or bicyclist behaviors (e.g., using caution when crossing streets, having children play away from busy streets).
How can health care providers impact motor vehicle injury?
- Health care providers are a primary and respected source of health information. Many individuals and families seek out the advice of health care providers to maintain their health and quality of life on a regular basis. Therefore, health care providers are ideally suited to have an ongoing influence on individuals’ decisions to adopt certain behaviors.
What are provider reminder strategies and how can they be used in motor vehicle injury interventions?
- Provider reminder interventions can be developed as part of provider training. Provider reminder interventions give cues or prompts to providers to increase the likelihood that they will discuss motor vehicle safety information with individuals. Provider reminder interventions utilize various strategies to prompt providers to discuss motor vehicle injury with individuals, including changes to the individual’s chart (e.g., stickers, colored folders), changes in the physical environment (e.g., posters in exam rooms), or personal prompts (e.g., laminated pocket-sized information sheets).
What types of settings are appropriate for provider education strategies?
- Provider education interventions are usually offered to health care providers in traditional public or private health care settings, including a provider’s office, hospital, health department, or assisted living facility. However, health care providers with or without specialized medical training can participate in provider education interventions training for non-traditional settings, including communities (e.g., mobile clinics), schools (e.g., school nurses), worksites, faith-based settings (e.g., health ministry), or individuals’ homes.
Where are opportunities for interventions in during patient visits?
- As part of their interaction with individuals, health care providers typically provide the following:
- An assessment of an individual’s behaviors related to motor vehicle safety and readiness to make behavior changes. This assessment enables the provider to give personally relevant information to the individual about their needs. For example, it may be used to increase knowledge or awareness of motor vehicle injury and related behaviors, teach skills for using various safety-related equipment (e.g., car or booster seats), or provide instruction on how to avoid drinking and driving (e.g., avoiding intoxication or designating a driver who will not be drinking).
- An opportunity for the individual to ask questions or clarify what they have been told. This exchange with the provider can help to ensure that the individual understands the information and recommendations that they have been provided.
- Referrals and resources within the community to assist the individual in following recommendations for avoiding motor vehicle injuries. For example, the provider can give the individual phone numbers for where to access free car or booster seats.
- Subsequent interactions between the provider and individual, including a reassessment of the individual’s behaviors as well as a discussion of challenges, benefits, and advice for maintaining motor vehicle safety change over time.
- The information given to patients or clients may be provided face-to-face or over the phone, during a single session or over multiple sessions, or through informational materials including brochures or videos created for this purpose.
What are the best methods for educating health care providers?
- Provider education training works best if it is hands-on and practical. This may include discussions among health care providers about how to counsel or provide advice to specific individuals (e.g., those with special health care needs, those who show no change over time), how to respond to individual barriers to changing behavior (e.g., what to do when children cry while in the safety seat, what to do when there are not enough seat belts for all passengers), how to reach high risk populations, how to work in different settings, and how to integrate effective practice strategies into different practice styles.
- Previous studies also suggest that it is important to consider longer-term education strategies, tailor provider education about motor vehicle safety to specific behaviors, and train providers on community and policy influences on these behaviors in addition to the more traditional focus on individual services. It is also useful to share methods for patient tracking, repeat counseling and referrals as appropriate.
What are the barriers to implementing provider education interventions?
- It is difficult to understand the effectiveness of these interventions because the interaction between the provider and individual is unique for each individual, short in duration (often less than 5 minutes), may involve recommendations for multiple behaviors at once (e.g., don’t drink and drive and quit smoking), or may lack institutional support for sharing this type of information during a visit (e.g., policies, procedures, training, or incentives).