The primary care sector represents the linchpin of many health systems. However, the translation of evidence-based practices into patient care can be difficult, particularly during healthcare reform. This can have significant implications for patients, their communities, and the public purse. This is aptly demonstrated in the area of sexual health. The aim of this paper is to determine what works to facilitate evidence-based sexual healthcare within the primary care sector.
431 clinicians (214 general practitioners and 217 practice nurses) in New South Wales, Australia, were surveyed about their awareness, their use, the perceived impact, and the factors that hindered the use of six resources to promote sexual healthcare. Descriptive statistics were calculated from the responses to the closed survey items, while responses to open-ended item were thematically analyzed.
All six resources were reported to improve the delivery of evidence-based sexual healthcare. Two resources – both double-sided A4-placards – had the greatest reach and use. Barriers that hindered resource-use included limited time, limited perceived need, and limited access to, or familiarity with the resources. Furthermore, the reorganization of the primary care sector and the removal of particular medical benefits scheme items may have hampered clinician capacity to translate evidence-based practices into patient care.
Findings reveal: (1) the translation of evidence-based practices into patient care is viable despite reform; (2) the potential value of a multi-modal approach; (3) the dissemination of relatively inexpensive resources might influence clinical practices; and (4) reforms to governance and/or funding arrangements may widen the void between evidence-based practices and patient care.