How can the EPCCS better engage with primary care physicians in various European countries regarding cardiovascular disease education?
EPCCS CouncilFeb. 6, 2018
During the first EPCCS Council meeting, held in Stratford-upon-Avon, on December 6-7 2017, workshops were held to discuss questions on the relevance and future of EPCCS and the EPCCS Council. Participants of the discussions were stimulated to be ambitious, to not only think about activities EPCCS is able to employ right away. We here summarise the ideas on how EPCCS can support and inform primary care physicians across Europe. Some activities cannot be implemented shortly, but may be further discussed and developed at future Council meetings.
The first topic discussed was how EPCCS can better engage with European primary care physicians regarding CV disease education.
Overall, one of the common themes that came up during the country presentations about organisation of primary care was that language continues to be a barrier in communicating continued education to individual GPs. In addition, educational activities of the Society would benefit from exploring the specific educational needs. A challenge is that GPs appear to have very little professional time to attend medical/scientific conferences or to read lengthy guidelines. Shorter summaries that have been translated into the primary language of the GP might be helpful in this respect.
There was a need to determine the target audience: regular GPs or GPs with a special interest (GPSIs) in CV disease. While GPSIs form an important target group, the website and Society should also have some relevance for regular GPs. In any case; educational need will vary among individuals: while some prefer to read brief practical guidance documents, others may want to read the scientific background.
Regional differences in organisation of and facilities in primary care exist. While it is important to acknowledge differences in situations between countries in Europe, it was also noted that we should not forget about the many commonalities. Specialist societies tend to emphasise more on what countries have in common, than primary care societies. EPCCS can play a role in bringing information together and sharing experiences and resources.
EPCCS may want to use the following approaches:
- Identify the types of educational materials EPCCS should be producing. A focus should lie on a pragmatic approach: how can physicians get most people to realistic targets: which tools are needed to achieve this (apps, assessment, guidance documents that do not only focus on changes based on the latest trials)?
- Produce a booklet or short summaries of guidelines and EPCCS advice about how to implement guidelines in general practice.
- Some consider the current EPCCS guidelines too theoretical and some details are missing in the translation to clinical practice; perhaps EPCCS could instead focus on shorter, quality summaries.
- Considering that general practice deals with multi-morbidity in a way that other specialties do not, an independent EPCCS guideline that pays attention to this complicating situation would be helpful, rather than only an adaptation of specialist guidelines for clinical practice. Alternatively, developing a combined version of multiple guidelines may help in appropriately managing patients with multiple illnesses.
- Case histories may be posted on the EPCCS website, and individual or regional experiences may be exchanged.
- Translations of guidelines to national situations can be posted on the website. Also translations in languages other than English (communal languages in various regions).
- EPCCS could present teaching frameworks/outlines that are already used in a given country, including suggestions as to what training modules are appropriate (i.e., case histories or patient stories). This would help bridge the differences in training programs and the way medical students in Europe are currently educated.
- In some countries, social media such as Facebook, is an important source of information or means to network among GPs. National societies can benefit from the resources on the EPCCS website.
- It would be good to have a tool to measure performance and effectiveness of individual GPs or practices.
- Provide an overview of ongoing research projects in primary care on the website. Various countries may study the same research questions, and power may be increased if data are combined.
If you want to post your research project on the EPCCS website, email a brief summary of the project to email@example.com (title, brief description of aim and methods, inclusion criteria, time line, and contact details if people want to connect with you, and a specific question to your European colleagues if you have one)