Introduction: The FASTEST trial demonstrated benefit of a TIA/stroke electronic decision support tool for the management of patients with TIA or minor stroke in primary. As part of the trial general practitioners (GPs) were offered an educational session on TIA and stroke prior to trial begin.
Hypothesis: GP TIA/stroke education has a beneficial effect on patient outcomes especially if combined with the use of electronic decision support.
Methods: The FASTEST trial was a multi-centre, single blind, parallel group, cluster randomised controlled trial comparing TIA/stroke electronic decisions support guided primary care management with usual care. A one-hour pre-trial TIA education session was offered to all participating GPs.
Results: Of 181 participating GPs 79 (43.7%) attended a pre-trial education session and 140/291 (48.1%) trial patients were managed by GPs who attended education. Overall, there was no significant difference in 90-day stroke events in patients treated by GPs who attended (2/140 (1.4%)) versus those who did not attend the education session (5/151 (3.3%)); cluster adjusted OR 0.42, 95% CI 0.08-2.21; p=0.30). GP education that was reinforced by subsequent access to the electronic decision support tool during the trial did result in fewer 90-day strokes (0/71; 0%) when compared with patients treated by GPs who neither accessed education nor the TIA/stroke tool (3/50; 6.0%); p=0.033. Similarly there were fewer 90-day vascular events or deaths when education was combined with access to the tool (1/71 (1.4%) versus 8/50 (16%); cluster adjusted OR 0.075, 95%CI 0.02-0.62; p=0.016). When either only the tool or only training were accessed results fell between the extremes with the tool alone performing better than training alone (90-day vascular event or death rate 6/101; 5.9% versus 9/69 13%).
Conclusion: GP training alone does not significantly reduce 90-day stroke events following TIA, however, education in combination with access to TIA/stroke electronic decision can enhance the reduction of 90-day stroke and vascular events.