Examining Associations Between Physician Data Utilization for Practice Improvement and Lifelong Learning
Davis, David A.
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Introduction: Practice data can inform the selection of educational strategies; however, it is not widely used, even when available. This study’s purpose was to determine factors that influence physician engagement with practice data to advance competence and drive practice change. Methods: A practice-based, pan-Canadian survey was administered to three physician subspecialties: psychiatrists (Psy), radiation oncologists (RO), and general surgeons (GS). The survey was distributed through national specialty society membership lists. The survey assessed factors that influence the use of data for practice improvement and orientation to lifelong learning, using the Jefferson Scale of Physician Lifelong Learning (JeffSPLL). Linear regression was used to model the relationship between the outcome variable frequency of data use and independent predictors of continuous learning to improving practice. Results: A total of 305 practicing physicians (Psy = 203, RO = 53, GS = 49) participated in this study. Most respondents used data for practice improvement (n = 177, 61.7%; Psy = 115, 40.1%; RO = 35; 12.2%; GS = 27, 9.4%) and had high orientation to lifelong learning (JeffSPLL mean scores: Psy = 47.4; RO = 43.5; GS = 45.1; Max = 56). Linear regression analysis identified significant predictors of data use in practice being: frequency of assessing learning needs, helpfulness of data to improve practice, and frequency to develop learning plans. Together, these predictors explained 42.9% of the variance in physicians’ orientation toward integrating accessible data into practice (R2 = 0.426, P < .001). Discussion: This study demonstrates an association between practice data use and perceived data utility, reflection on learning needs and learning plan development. Implications for this work include process development for data-informed action planning for practice improvement for physicians.
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