Great news! Recent research published in BMJ, which was conducted in British Columbia, Canada, has shown that EIM workshops significantly increased written physical activity prescriptions by family physicians where appropriate. Patient physical activity written prescriptions rose from 40% at baseline to 68%, 1 month after the delivery of a 3 hour educational workshop to physicians. Furthermore, a significant increase was also seen in the proportion of physicians who reported referring patients for the purpose of physical activity assessment or appraisal.
Primary healthcare settings, such as GP practices, have been identified as one of the most important areas for influencing people to exercise for disease prevention and treatment. This is important as physical activity has been identified as one of the most widely accessible, low cost and effective methods for the prevention and treatment of many health conditions.
This pioneering research demonstrates to the primary health care community that these types of education interventions are key in encouraging and enabling doctors to promote exercise to patients.
The educational workshops included information about assessing patient physical activity levels, using motivational interviewing techniques to encourage physical activity and providing written physical activity prescriptions where appropriate. Practical tools were also provided to enable physician behaviour change such as the provision of physical activity prescription pads.
This news could not have been timed better as EIM Australia continues to coordinate 2 hour educational workshops, accredited for GPs and practice nurses, across the country. Additionally, through the EIM in Practice initiative, Australias own data is being collected about GP and practice nurse physical activity promotion to patients. This data is being collected after the delivery of EIM workshops and the dissemination of health care professional information and tools to participating practices.
For more information about EIM Australia education workshops click here.
Windt, J., Windt, A., Davis, J., Petrella, R., Khan, K. (2015). Can a 3-hour educational workshop and the provision of practical tools encourage family physicians to prescribe physical activity as medicine? A pre-post study. BMJ Open, 5(7), e007920.