Background: Primary care clinicians suggest that staff education is needed to increase chlamydia testing appropriately. Objectives: To determine if interactive workshops and modified laboratory request forms could increase testing and case detection. Methods: Study design: Prospective cluster randomized controlled study, using modified Zelen's design, examining the effect of workshops and modified request forms on primary care clinicians' chlamydia specimen submission and case positivity rate. Study population: 82 general practices in six geographical clusters within five primary care trusts (PCTs) in Gloucestershire and County Durham and Darlington. Intervention: Practices within geographical clusters were randomly assigned to workshops on chlamydia or a control consisting of comparable workshops on the management of urinary symptoms, held in PCT-protected learning time. Half the practices were randomized to receive modified laboratory request forms. Staff were unaware that they were part of a study. Results: Interactive workshops increased chlamydia testing in 16- to 24-year-old women by 33% in intervention practices compared to controls with effect persisting at 10 months (P = 0.003). No associated rise in the number of chlamydia infections was detected (P = 0.91), suggesting that increased testing may have occurred in a lower risk population. Modified forms did not change test submission (P = 0.75). Conclusions: Interactive workshops for general practices can be used to successfully increase chlamydia-testing rates. Chlamydia detection rates will need to be monitored as this type of educational programme may not increase absolute numbers of chlamydia infections detected, if patients at lower risk of infection are inappropriately tested. Other interventions may need to be combined with the workshops, to reach sufficiently high chlamydia screening rates to significantly reduce prevalence of chlamydial infection.
- Primary care