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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 13, Issue 4, Pages 193-197
Original Article

Paper Stamp Checklist Tool Enhances Asthma Guidelines Knowledge and Implementation by Primary Care Physicians

PM Renzi,1 H Ghezzo,2 S Goulet,1 E Dorval,1 and RL Thivierge1

1Centre for Professional Development, University of Montreal, Canada
2Epidemiology Department, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Copyright © 2006 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: The Canadian Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) for the management of asthmatic patients were last published in 1999, with updates in 2001 and June 2004. Large disparities exist in the implementation of these guidelines into clinical practice.

OBJECTIVE: The present study evaluated the knowlege of Quebec-based primary care physicians regarding the CPGs, as well as patient outcomes before and after introducing physicians to a new clinical tool – a memory aid in the form of a self-inking paper stamp checklist summarizing CPG criteria and guidelines for assessing asthmatic patient control and therapy. The primary objective of the present study was to assess whether the stamp would improve physicians’ knowledge of the CPGs, and as a secondary objective, to assess whether it would decrease patient emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

METHODS: A prospective, randomized, controlled study of 104 primary care physicians located in four Quebec regions was conducted. Each physician initially responded to questions on their knowledge of the CPGs, and was then randomly assigned to one of four groups that received information about the CPGs while implementing an intervention (the stamp tool) aimed at supporting their decision-making process at the point of care. Six months later, the physicians were retested, and patient outcomes for approximately one year were obtained from the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec.

RESULTS: The stamp significantly improved physicians’ knowledge of the CPGs in all Quebec regions tested, and reduced emergency room visits and hospitalizations in patients who were followed for at least one year.

CONCLUSION: A paper stamp summarizing CPGs for asthma can be used effectively to increase the knowledge of physicians and to positively affect patient outcomes.