Educational outreach visits: effects on professional practice and health care outcomes
RHL practical aspects by Costa MLB and Khanna J
FIRST CONTACT (PRIMARY CARE) LEVEL
This is the level of care that is most likely to receive and benefit from educational outreach visits. Factors that are likely to make educational outreach visits successful include: availability of information on outcomes of existing practices and behaviours; availability of evidence-based information on effective practices and behaviours; availability of trained people with appropriate knowledge and skills; and willingness on the part of health-care professionals to improve their practices and change behaviour. Thus, at the primary care level good record-keeping and monitoring and evaluation of practices are essential to allow identification of practices that could be improved. Secondly, management practices at the primary care level need to be conducive to acceptance of educational visits and implementation of recommended changes.
REFERRAL HOSPITAL (SECONDARY CARE) LEVEL
This level of care is more likely to have greater access to new information as well as the experience needed to manage change. Health-care professionals at this level are also more likely to be involved in both monitoring and evaluation of practices as well as research to generate new information. At this level, close monitoring of patients referred from the primary level can provide indications about practices at the primary level. Also, management practices at this level should encourage sharing of information, including development of skills needed to share information and experience. Health-care professionals at the referral level who serve as visiting trainers should also record and monitor outcomes of educational outreach visits with a view to documenting what works and what does not.
AT HOME OR IN THE COMMUNITY
This document should be cited as: Costa MLB and Khanna J. Educational outreach visits: effects on professional practice and health care outcomes: RHL practical aspects (last revised: 1 September 2008). The WHO Reproductive Health Library; Geneva: World Health Organization.