Original Article | Volume 17 Number 2: 0 | 15 May 2022

A multi-faceted intervention to improve screening of erectile dysfunction for men with diabetes mellitus in public health clinics: A pilot study

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Erectile dysfunction (ED) is common in men with diabetes and is associated with coronary artery disease and psychological distress. However, discussion of ED in primary care consultations is uncommon. Interventions, such as audit and feedback, mandate of management, and workshop on men’s sexual health, have been proposed to improve ED screening in public health clinics. This study aimed to pilot test a multi-faceted intervention to increase ED screening among men with diabetes and to improve knowledge and confidence in ED screening among primary healthcare providers (PHPs).
Methods: We conducted an interrupted time-series quasi-experimental study with PHPs at public health clinics in Perak, Malaysia from February 2019 to February 2020. Doctors, nurses, and assistant medical officers involved in diabetes care were recruited. The intervention was conducted between July and September 2019 and comprised two phases: audit and feedback, and mandate from management (phase 1), and an interactive face-to-face workshop (phase 2). The primary outcome measure was monthly ED screening rate, and the data were retrieved from health records and the clinical diabetes registry. The PHPs completed a questionnaire on ED knowledge and confidence in ED screening before and after the workshop.
Results: The total number of attendances by patients with diabetes was 50,325 during the study period, of which 21,413 were by men. A total of 30 PHPs participated in the training workshop: 7 (23.3%) doctors, 12 (40%) medical assistants, and 11 (36.7%) nurses. The mean duration of employment at a health clinic was 7 ± 5 years. The majority of the participants were male (56.7%), Malay (80%), married (76.7%), and had no experience with working in a urology department (76.7%). There was a significant improvement in the mean knowledge score (39.0 ± 11.4 vs. 63.6 ± 6.2, p<0.001) and median confidence level in ED screening from 2 (IQR 2–3) to 4 (IQR 4–4) after the workshop (p<0.001). After phase 1, the rate of ED screening increased from a baseline of between 10.3% (February 2019) and 12.7% (June 2019) before intervention to between 15% (July 2019) and 18.9% (September 2019) and was maintained between 18% (October 2019) and 17.9% (December 2019) after phase 2. Subsequently, the ED screening rate declined from 14.6% (January 2020) to 10.9% (February 2020).
Conclusion: This study found that audit and feedback with mandate from management increased ED screening and detection rate. The workshop improved the participants’ knowledge and confidence in ED screening but did not further increased ED screening. The improved practice was sustained for 6 months after the intervention, while the detection rate of ED persisted. We propose regular audit and feedback with mandate from management to sustain the practice of ED screening in men with diabetes.

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