Physicians Lacking Intrauterine Contraception Knowledge

February 9, 2011

Family physicians have training and knowledge gaps that result in missed opportunities to offer intrauterine contraception (IUC) as a form of birth control to eligible patients, according to a study published online Dec. 3 in Contraception.

TUESDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Family physicians have training and knowledge gaps that result in missed opportunities to offer intrauterine contraception (IUC) as a form of birth control to eligible patients, according to a study published online Dec. 3 in Contraception.

Susan E. Rubin, Ph.D., from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, N.Y., and colleagues surveyed 3,500 family physicians in the United States to determine whether they inserted IUCs in their clinical practice. The survey assessed training, knowledge, and attitude of the physicians toward using IUC with their patients, to determine the factors associated with increased use. The investigators found that 24 percent of the 869 respondents had inserted an IUC in the past 12 months. Family physicians who inserted IUCs had better knowledge about IUC, and were more comfortable discussing IUC use, compared with physicians who did not insert IUCs. They were also more likely to think that their patients would be receptive to discussing IUCs. The more often physicians inserted IUCs during residency, the more likely they were to insert them in their current practice. "Our study demonstrates that significant knowledge and training gaps, as well as attitudes, prevent family physicians from offering IUC to all eligible patients. More IUC education and insertion training in residency, as well as directing interventions at family physicians who already provide reproductive health services, could increase the proportion of women who have access to IUC," the authors write. 

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