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A randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a distance asthma learning program for pediatricians.

J Asthma. 2010 Apr;47(3):245-50. Le TT, Rait MA, Jarlsberg LG, Eid NS, Cabana MD. Department of Pediatrics, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

OBJECTIVES: To assess provider acceptability of a distance learning program for pediatric asthma and pilot test its effects on physician knowledge, attitudes and treatment practices. DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial.

SETTING: Louisville and the surrounding central Kentucky region. PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-four pediatricians in clinical practice. Interventions. A distance learning program for pediatric asthma consisting of Web- or CD-ROM-based multimedia learning modules and two teleconference calls.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Learner satisfaction and change in physician asthma knowledge, attitudes, and treatment behavior at 1 to 4 months (short term) and 6 to 8 months (long term).

RESULTS: Pediatricians had graduated from medical school a mean of 11.6 years before baseline (SD +/-8.9); 56% were female. On all learner satisfaction items, the average score was a 4.0 or greater on a 5-point scale, indicating a favorable response from the participants. Participants in the education group reported increased familiarity with asthma guideline for prescribing daily-inhaled corticosteroids compared to control physicians (p = .03) at short-term follow-up. Participants also expressed increased confidence in selecting a medicine for patients requiring a low-dose inhaled steroid (p = .03). However, these differences were not seen at long-term follow-up. Compared to the control group, there was no significant increase in the proportion of patients receiving inhaled steroids for persistent asthma at short- or long-term follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: Pediatricians utilizing an asthma distance learning program expressed a high degree of learner satisfaction. The program was associated with a temporary increase in familiarity and confidence in implementing components of the asthma guidelines.

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