228758 Evaluation of a distance-education program for training general doctors as primary care specialists in rural Vietnam

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Elizabeth Henry, MHS , Department of Family Medicine, Boston University, Cambridge, MA
Jeffrey Markuns, MD, EdD , Department of Family Medicine, Boston University, Boston, MA
Lucas Thornblade, BA , School of Medicine, Boston University, Boston, MA
Alain Montegut, MD , Department of Family Medicine, Boston University, Boston, MA
PURPOSE: To evaluate a model part-time distance education program for training general doctors as primary care specialists at a district hospital in rural Vietnam. METHODOLOGY: Information was gathered through a survey for graduates of the training program compared with a comparative group of untrained community-based physicians, in-depth interviews with program graduates and trainees, and focus groups with visiting lecturers and clinical mentors.

BACKGROUND: The Ministry of Health of Vietnam established Family Medicine as a new first-degree medical specialty in 2001. In order to improve the delivery of primary health care at the community level in rural areas, a modular training program based on the core content of Family Medicine has been implemented in Khanh Hoa Province since 2006. This program allows physicians to stay in practice while earning certification as first-degree specialists.

RESULTS: Overall trained providers had a higher level of self-reported knowledge on key primary care topics than untrained providers. Trained providers also had a significantly higher level of self-reported competency in implementing key primary care practices. Lack of communication between on-site clinical mentors and visiting medical school faculty was cited as a challenge, but several areas for immediate improvement were suggested. Overall trainees were enthusiastic about the program and reported increased ability to address the majority of health needs in their community.

CONCLUSIONS: Distance-education training programs for general doctors to earn first-degree specialty certification in Family Medicine are a feasible and effective way to improve provision of high quality primary care services in rural communities in Vietnam.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
1.) To describe novel strategies for educating rural community-based physicians as primary care specialists in developing countries 2.) To compare successes and challenges in implementing a district-based physician education program in Family Medicine in rural Vietnam

Keywords: Primary Care, Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: designed the evaluation of the training program and oversee the management of the technical assistance for this program
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.