Randomised trial of intensive academic detailing to promote opportunistic recruitment of women to cervical screening by general practitioners

Aust N Z J Public Health. 2003;27(3):273-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-842x.2003.tb00394.x.


Objective: To evaluate a multifaceted intervention involving intensive academic detailing for general practitioners (GPs) to improve recruitment of women for cervical screening.

Methods: We conducted a cluster randomisation trial involving 39 general practices in inner-metropolitan Sydney. GPs' knowledge, propensity to an opportunistic approach, competence and confidence were assessed by self-report before and after the intervention. To measure GP behaviour, recall of an opportunistic discussion about cervical screening was determined in cross-sectional samples of female patients at baseline (n = 1,090) and post-test (n = 1,062).

Results: Knowledge improved marginally in both groups but there were no changes in other GP self-reported measures. At post-test, women attending GPs in the intervention group were no more likely than those in the control group to recall an opportunistic inquiry about their cervical screening status (OR 0.65, 95% CI 0.40-1.08). Women in the intervention group who were overdue for cervical screening were no more likely than their control group counterparts at post-test to recall advice about cervical screening (OR 2.16, 95% CI 0.75-6.14) or written information (OR 0.34, 95% CI 0.04-26.5).

Conclusions: Intensive academic detailing does not improve an opportunistic approach to cervical screening in general practice.

Implications for public health practice: In an evidence-based climate, implementation of academic detailing as a strategy to improve cervical screening rates in general practice would be premature.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diagnostic Services
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Obstetrical and Gynecological
  • Female
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Selection*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Vaginal Smears