Background There is a need to develop strategies for guideline development. It is essential to learn educational needs of health professionals who work at PHC level. Evidence based guidelines should be applied for these health professionals taking into account their context.
Objectives To identify skills and resources of primary health professionals in a distance learning course (UNASUS from UFCSPA – Federal University of Health Science of Porto Alegre).
Methods A quasi-experiment study had been carried out and the inclusion criteria were dentists, nurses and family physicians that provide PHC. Data had been collected in the beginning of the distant course, as a baseline and one year after the enrollment. This course enables specialisation for primary health care. A web-based questionnaire was applied to these subjects.
Results The sample size was 251 eligible subjects. The mean age of the responders was 35.2±8.27DP (range: 25–68), from 48 different towns from South Brazil. The majority (88.8%) were women and 67.3% had nurse degree. 94% of the subjects reported that the distance course was a good strategy to change their practice. Interactive activities resembling their daily routine had a higher impact.
Discussion The results have shown that distance learning is effective to enhance primary health care professional’s behaviour, especially when simulating real cases.
Implications for guideline developers/users The present research has identified that it is essential to improve access to evidence-based clinical practice guidelines and resources across Brazil, and to increase skill capacity in using evidence to inform clinical decision-making.
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