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Assessing the Learning Needs of VHA Women’s Health Primary Care Providers

Zuchowski J, Washington DL, Cordasco KM. Assessing the Learning Needs of VHA Women’s Health Primary Care Providers. Poster session presented at: VA HSR&D Enhancing Partnerships for Research and Care of Women Veterans Conference; 2014 Jul 31; Arlington, VA.


Objective: To assess learning needs and preferred learning modalities of VA women's health (WH) primary care providers (PCPs) who, given the dramatic increase in female VA users with complex medical conditions, may need to supplement their knowledge of WH topics. Methods: Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with 17 WH PCPs in Southern California and Oklahoma. Interviewees were asked about their learning needs and preferred learning modalities related to conditions specific to, or more common in, women. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and summarized. Summaries were analyzed for specific WH health topics and learning modalities. Additionally, 20 WH PCPs (12 of whom were interviewees) completed a survey. Survey respondents were asked to rate their interest (using a four-point Likert scale from "not at all interested" to "very interested") in getting additional education on a variety of WH topics. We assessed the percentage of respondents "very interested" in each topic. Results: Interviewees most frequently expressed interest in the topics of contraception and abnormal uterine bleeding, as well as chronic pain, medications during pregnancy, inserting IUDs, chronic pelvic pain, and hormone replacement therapy. Survey respondents were "very interested" in the topics of: assessment of abnormal cervical pathology (70%); evaluation/management of chronic pelvic pain (60%); contraception counseling (55%); pharmacology in pregnancy and lactation (55%); menopause symptom management (55%); evaluation of a breast mass (55%); osteoporosis/osteopenia management (55%); and evaluation of abnormal uterine bleeding (55%). In terms of preferred learning modalities, interviewees most frequently identified in-person workshops/lectures, SCAN-ECHO, and national conferences. Conclusions: WH PCPs expressed a range of learning needs and preferred learning modalities. Gynecology-related conditions were of particular interest. Impact: Given that more women are using VA healthcare services, and that VA is committed to providing high-quality comprehensive health care to women, it is paramount to build VA's WH capacity. As such, a fuller assessment of these learning needs, as well as the best modalities in which they can be met, is needed. VA should work with medical education and WH experts to continue assessing and addressing these learning needs so that WH PCPs are equipped to provide optimal care to women Veterans.

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