Impact of Cardiovascular Disease Guideline Dissemination on Provider Knowledge

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Provider characteristics associated with higher cardiovascular disease (CVD) knowledge and learning through clinical practice guidelines (CPG) dissemination are not well understood.


A baseline knowledge survey was distributed to licensed primary care practitioners. A CPG was then distributed following 6-weeks later by a repeat survey to assess proportion reading the CPG and changes in an aggregate knowledge score. The authors examined provider characteristics as predictors of CPG review and knowledge. Changes in CVD knowledge and specific CVD knowledge deficits were assessed.


Of 1415 providers, 59% (830) completed the initial survey, 46% (651) completed the survey after CPG dissemination and 37% (523) completed both. The weighted percentage of CPG review was 51% (95% CI: 47%–55%) and was higher among midlevel providers (63% versus 44%, P < 0.001) and those in practice >5 years (53% versus 40%, P=0.017). Overall, baseline knowledge score was 71.2% and improved to 72.2% (P=0.038). Improvement in knowledge score was greater among midlevel providers (mean increase 2.4%, 95% CI: 1.0%–4.0%). Paradoxically, those in practice >5 years exhibited a trend toward lower improvements (2.2% versus 1.1%, P=0.08).


Direct dissemination of a CPG resulted in a moderate rate of review, yet only small improvements in knowledge. This suggests that CPG dissemination alone is inadequate to substantively improve provider knowledge, although midlevel providers were more likely to read the CPG and increase their knowledge score. Multicomponent education strategies tailored to provider characteristics may be more effective improving knowledge.

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