Assess your community capacity and needed resources

Provider education comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and requires different amounts and types of resources.  The specific resources required will likely vary depending on the type of reminder system developed, the place or medium for training, training curriculum, number of participants, and number of trainers present. For example, you may want to have training classes at a health care facility.  For these, you may need to have access to a copy machine or a printing facility to create materials for the participants or to share existing resources with the participants. If you have a large number of trainees, you may need to have access to multiple rooms and trainers. You may also need to have audiovisual equipment to teach some of the components of the training curriculum. Alternately, you may want to design an on-line reminder and training system. This will require additional technological resources and skills.

You may consider creating a resource management plan, in which you review your current resources and resource requirements and identify at what points in the intervention you will need these specific resources. As you develop your budget, be sure to incorporate the costs for these types of resources.

Some technologically advanced provider education systems (e.g., computer reminder systems) are expensive to implement, however, lower cost interventions have been developed (e.g., faxes to physician offices, reminder stickers in charts or posters).

Provider education interventions many require a lot of personnel and training time. Provider time is necessary to participate in training, implementation, or follow-up during office visits, by phone or mail or e-mail. Staff time and training are necessary to support implementation of counseling and advice to individuals and to conduct follow-up (e.g., chart preparation, audits of patient records, relaying feedback to physicians, monthly testing of random samples of patients to ensure improvement in outcomes, etc.). Furthermore, time is needed during office visits to allow for delivery of advice and there may be other competing concerns that need to be addressed in this time period.

To save time and money, it is helpful to find partners who have already received this training.  If this is not possible, you may have to provide your own training on topics like: health risks associated with physical inactivity, communication strategies regarding non-judgmental feedback and reinforcement, how to build cultural competence, how to help individuals with problem solving strategies, proper counseling attitude, community resources, and maintaining confidentiality.

You many need to consider additional equipment and resources for both training and intervention. You may need other equipments such as video recorders, players and tapes to provide visual physical activity educational information to providers.  For provider reminders, computers and software programs may be needed to generate reminders for providers to counsel their patients on certain physical activity-related issues. Provider education systems such as prompt sheets and training sessions can be developed at a relatively low cost and can be done on-site. Provider education interventions may use incentives for providers to implement education into standard practice. Lastly, other various supplies may be needed to conduct simulations with providers.

Provider reminder and education systems may also require certain trainer skill sets (e.g., stages of change model, brief behavioral counseling and communication) depending on the curriculum that gets used. For example, it will likely be necessary to have trainers skilled at helping providers understand how to communicate with patients, the importance of self-management and the ability to teach practitioners how to work with their patients to improve their self-management skills, using public health theories of behavior change, and translating physical activity recommendations into individual patient goals and plans. Space, equipment and materials are needed to conduct trainings and workshops for providers.

Likewise, evaluation of provider reminder and education interventions can be complex and may require assistance from researchers and other partners who have experience with study design, measurement development, data collection, data analysis or translation of research findings into practical implications for your community.

The Readiness and Preparation and Capacity sections provide information and resources to help you think about the resources you might need for your intervention. There are a number of tools and resources for use in training providers to counsel individuals on lifestyle and self-management techniques including provider prompts, behavioral counseling training, self-help manuals, and others. For specific examples of tools and resources for physical activity that have been created and used by other communities, visit Tools and Resources for Physical Activity Provider Education.

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