Background: Primary care physicians' ability to provide effective health behavior change advice might be leveraged by linking to available community resources. This study evaluates tools to facilitate such a link. Design: A mixed methods longitudinal pre-post-test study was conducted in 2004. Setting/Participants: Seven primary care practices in northeast Ohio and two longitudinal cohorts of patients (n=784). Intervention: The practice-tailored intervention included two main components: (1) a web-based health behavior change resource including a database of community programs and patient education materials, and (2) a health behavior prescription pad. Main Outcome Measures: Rates of discussion of diet, exercise, weight management, and smoking cessation; and patient change in motivation to modify behaviors at 8 weeks post-visit. Qualitative field notes about practice routines, culture, and implementation efforts were analyzed to enhance understanding of the practice change process. Results: The post-intervention cohort reported higher rates of discussion of diet (25.7% vs 20.2%), exercise (27.8% vs 16.9%), and weight management (23.2% vs 16.3%), and greater referral to patient education materials (24.2% vs 21.6%) and community programs for health behavior change (16.0% vs 13.6%) (p<0.05). No difference in change in patient motivation to modify behavior was observed between the pre- and post-intervention cohorts. Evaluation of the qualitative field notes suggests that for six of seven practices, the intervention was not appreciably implemented. Conclusions: The intervention tools show promise for increasing clinician discussion of health behaviors, information referral, and referral to community resources. Additional work to increase practice adoption of the tools is required to understand their potential to affect patient motivation to change behavior.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health