Background: Although there is much room for improvement in the performance of recommended preventive manoeuvres, many inappropriate preventive interventions are being done. We evaluated a multifaceted intervention, delivered by nurses trained in prevention facilitation, to improve prevention in primary care.
Methods: Forty-six health service organizations (HSOs) were recruited from 100 sites in Ontario. After baseline data were collected, we randomly assigned the practices to either an 18-month (July 1997 to December 1998) multifaceted intervention delivered by 1 of 3 nurse facilitators (23 practices) or no intervention (23 practices). The unit of intervention and analysis was the medical practice. The outcome measure was an overall index of preventive performance, which was calculated as the proportion of eligible patients who received 8 recommended preventive manoeuvres less the proportion of eligible patients who received 5 inappropriate preventive manoeuvres.
Results: One HSO, in the intervention group, was lost to follow-up. Before the intervention, the index of preventive performance was similar for the intervention and control groups (31.9% [95% confidence interval (CI) 27.3%-36.5%] and 32.1% [95% CI 27.2%-37.0%] respectively). At follow-up the corresponding values were 43.2% (95% CI 38.4%-48.0%) and 31.9% (95% CI 26.8%-37.0%), for an absolute improvement in the intervention group of 11.5% (p < 0.001). The mean proportion of eligible patients who received the recommended manoeuvres was 62.3% (95% CI 58.2%-66.4%) in the intervention group, as compared with 57.4% (95% CI 54.1%-60.7%) in the control group, for an absolute improvement of 7.2% (p = 0.008). The corresponding values for the inappropriate manoeuvres were 19.1% (95% CI 15.6%-22.6%) and 25.5% (95% CI 20.0%-31.0%), for an absolute improvement of 4.4% (p = 0.019).
Interpretation: The tailored multifaceted intervention delivered by nurse facilitators was effective in modifying physician practice patterns and significantly improved preventive care performance.