Journal of Sexual & Reproductive Medicine

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Results of a national needs assessment for continuing medical education of family physicians related to erectile dysfunction and/or male sexual dysfunction

Author(s): Richard A Ward, Pierre Raiche, Herta M Fidler

BACKGROUND: Family physicians are the first point of contact for men who are experiencing erectile dysfunction (ED) and andropause. At the same time, most patients with ED are not identified or treated by health care professionals. This can result in under-recognition and inadequate management of sexual health pathology. OBJECTIVES: The present study undertook to identify Canadian primary care physicians’ demographics, learning needs and preferences for continuing medical education in relation to ED. The results would aid in the development of educational programs in the area of male sexual dysfunction. METHODS: Surveys were distributed to a stratified, proportionate, random sample of 5000 Canadian physicians. The survey asked about screening practices, comfort with sexual history taking, preferred educational format, perceived difficulty and incidence of common male sexual problems, barriers to treatment and demographic information. RESULTS: Almost 40% of physicians reported being nonscreeners. Those who reported asking all male patients about their sexual health (global screeners) reported statistically higher comfort levels than those who only screened selectively (selective screeners) or not at all (nonscreeners). The most common and most difficult condition to treat was found to be sexual problems in couples. The greatest challenge in managing ED was reported to be treating couples by nonscreeners, treatment failures by selective screeners and time required to treat for global screeners. A 1 h overview course was the most preferred educational format. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that any educational intervention that increases comfort with sexual history taking will also increase screening among family physicians. However, educators need to consider the specific learning needs for each group of screeners.


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