Background: In 2010, the CDC-funded Ratelle STD/HIV PTC of New England integrated real-time audience polling (Turning Point Audience Response System (ARS), Turning Technologies, v2008) into continuing education targeting clinicians who diagnose and manage STDs. ARS data were analyzed to identify testable hypotheses to inform future training efforts of the Ratelle PTC.
Methods: From 2010-2012, clinicians attended 12 educational lectures. Two topics were analyzed: “Highlights from the 2010 STD Treatment Guidelines” for generalists (n = 72-132, including general pediatricians, family practitioners, advanced practice nurses, and emergency medicine physicians); and “Management of Sexually Transmitted Infections in HIV-Infected and At-Risk Patients” for infectious disease (ID) specialists (n =59-147). Data were analyzed for themes by examining audience responses stratified by provider specialty. Microsoft® Office Excel 2003 was used for analyses.
Results: The following hypotheses were generated: a small proportion of generalists (1) take race/ethnicity into account when interpreting results of a disease that disproportionately affects non-white patients (herpes type-specific serologic testing), (2) consider the possibility of a test result being a false positive (herpes type-specific serologic testing), and (3) use Expedited Partner Therapy for treating partners of patients infected with chlamydia; an increasing proportion of ID specialists(4) see 6+ infectious syphilis cases/year, (5) use reverse sequence serologic testing for syphilis; and (6) have access to rectal/pharyngeal nucleic acid amplification testing. Finally, (7) counseling patients to self-refer partners remains the most common way ID specialists treat partners of chlamydia patients.
Conclusions: Interpretation of results was limited due to differences in questions across topics and relatively small sample sizes. However, data were useful for maximizing PTC hypothesis-generation, and can be examined further for trends, practice limitations, and knowledge gaps, and can inform future PTC training efforts. Additional demographic variables (e.g. practice settings and years in practice) can be collected for further analysis.