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Open Access Research article

What are the learning outcomes of a short postgraduate training course in dermatology for primary care doctors?

TP Lam1*, CK Yeung2 and KF Lam3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

2 Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

3 Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

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BMC Medical Education 2011, 11:20  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-11-20

Published: 16 May 2011

Abstract

Background

There are increasing expectations on primary care doctors to shoulder a bigger share of care for patients with common dermatological problems in the community. This study examined the learning outcomes of a short postgraduate course in dermatology for primary care doctors.

Methods

A self-reported questionnaire developed by the research team was sent to the Course graduates. A retrospective design was adopted to compare their clinical practice characteristics before and after the Course. Differences in the ratings were analysed using the nonparametric Wilcoxon signed rank test to evaluate the effectiveness of the Course in various aspects.

Results

Sixty-nine graduates replied with a response rate of 42.9% (69/161). Most were confident of diagnosing (91.2%) and managing (88.4%) common dermatological problems after the Course, compared to 61.8% and 58.0% respectively before the Course. Most had also modified their approach and increased their attention to patients with dermatological problems. The number of patients with dermatological problems seen by the graduates per day showed significant increase after the Course, while the average percentage of referrals to dermatologists dropped from 31.9% to 23.5%. The proportion of graduates interested in following up patients with chronic dermatological problems increased from 60.3% to 77.9%.

Conclusions

Graduates of the Course reported improved confidence, attitudes and skills in treating common dermatological problems. They also reported to handle more patients with common dermatological problems in their practice and refer fewer patients.

Keywords:
continuing medical education; dermatology; learning outcomes; postgraduate training; primary care doctors