PURPOSE: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common medical condition associated with increased risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and heart failure. Studies of practice behaviors show that the majority of primary care providers (PCPs) do not screen for, or address, sleep-related disorders in their patients. The objectives of this continuing medical education (CME) curriculum were: (a) to show PCPs how to utilize diagnostic tools in patients at risk for OSA; (b) to review current evidence-based treatment strategies for OSA; and (c) to describe the role of the PCP in supporting treatment and compliance among their patients with OSA.
METHODS: Our goal was to build an innovative, outcomes-oriented CME curriculum for a primary care audience based upon:(a) A robust needs assessment;(b) Sound adult learning concepts;(c) Best practices in patient care; and (d) The unique needs associated with the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. We utilized integrated learning activities incorporating elements that support clinician learning styles and provide opportunities for patient assessment and discussion with experts. The program featured a blend of didactic presentations with audience participation, immediate feedback from peers, and video-based patient screening sessions. Assessment included immediate measurement of specific changes relative to baseline prior to the activity and subsequent follow-up to discern the implementation of program tactics in clinical practice.
RESULTS: PCPs reported increased adherence to clinical standards and improved assessment of at-risk patients (hypertension; BMI >27) for snoring, irregular breathing during sleep, chronic morning fatigue and daytime sleepiness.
CONCLUSION: Incorporating primary care patient case studies into clinical education curricula is a very powerful teaching tool, but it is not adequately used in CME. CME faculty and educational providers should explore how to use this model in different therapeutic settings; the best use in varied clinical scenarios may be different.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: PCPs can improve patient outcomes when they understand their role in the initial screening and diagnosis and also their role in supporting treatment and compliance among their patients with OSA.
DISCLOSURE: Nike Gazonas, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information