Background: Patient self-management support is recognised as a key component of chronic care. Education and training for health professionals has been shown in the literature to be associated with better uptake, implementation and effectiveness of self-management programs, however, there is no clear evidence regarding whether this training results in improved health outcomes for patients with chronic conditions.
Methods: A systematic review was undertaken using the PRISMA guidelines using the Cochrane Library, PubMEd, ERIC, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Web searches, Hand searches and Bibliographies. Articles published from inception to September 1st, 2013 were included. Systematic reviews, Meta-analysis, Randomized controlled trials (RCTs), Controlled clinical trials, Interrupted time series and Controlled before and after studies, which reported on primary care health professionals' continuing education or evidence-based medicine/education on patient self-management for any chronic condition, were included. A minimum of two reviewers participated independently at each stage of review.
Results: From 7533 abstracts found, only two papers provided evidence on the effectiveness of self-management education for primary healthcare professionals in terms of measured outcomes in patients. These two articles show improvement in patient outcomes for chronic back pain and diabetes based on RCTs. The educational interventions with health professionals spanned a range of techniques and modalities but both RCTs included a motivational interviewing component.
Conclusions: Before and up to 2 years after the incorporation of patient empowerment for self-management into the WONCA Europe definition of general practice, there was a scarcity of high quality evidence showing improved outcomes for patients as a result of educating health professionals in patient self-management of chronic conditions.
Keywords: Chronic conditions; Patient empowerment; Primary care; Self-management.