Background: Nearly 50% of Canadians are overweight and their number is increasing rapidly. The majority of obese subjects are treated by primary care physicians (PCPs) who often feel uncomfortable with the management of obesity. The current research proposal is aimed at the development and implementation of an innovative, integrated, interdisciplinary obesity care management system involving both primary and secondary care professionals.
Methods: We will use both action and evaluative research in order to achieve the following specific objectives. The first one is to develop and implement a preceptorship-based continuing medical education (CME) program complemented by a web site for physicians and nurses working in Family Medicine Groups (FMGs). This CME will be based on needs assessment and will be validated by one FMG using questionnaires and semi structured interviews. Also, references and teaching tools will be available for participants on the web site. Our second objective is to establish a collaborative intra and inter-regional interdisciplinary network to enable on-going expertise update and networking for FMG teams. This tool consists of a discussion forum and monthly virtual meetings of all participants. Our third objective is to evaluate the implementation of our program for its ability to train 8 FMGs per year, the access and utilization of electronic tools and the participants' satisfaction. This will be measured with questionnaires, web logging tools and group interviews. Our fourth objective is to determine the impact for the participants regarding knowledge and expertise, attitudes and perceptions, self-efficacy for the management of obesity, and changes in FMG organization for obesity management. Questionnaires and interviews will be used for this purpose. Our fifth objective is to deliver transferable knowledge for health professionals and decision-makers. Strategies and pitfalls of setting up this program will also be identified.
Conclusion: This project is relevant to health system's decision-makers who are confronted with an important increase in the prevalence of obesity. It is therefore critical to develop strategies allowing the management of obesity in the 1st line setting. Results of this research project could therefore influence health care organization in the field of obesity but also eventually for other chronic diseases.