Evaluation of Academic Detailing for Primary Care Physician Dementia Education

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The objective of this evaluation study was to assess the effect of academic detailing (AcD) as a strategy to increase early detection of dementia in primary care practice and to improve support and management of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia disorders by increasing communication and referrals to local community agencies. As designed for dementia education, AcD consisted of 15-minute educational sessions delivered in primary care practice offices. Twenty-nine visits were conducted by trained teams comprised of a physician and representatives of the Alzheimer’s Association (AA) and Area Agency on Aging (AAA). A key outcome of the visits was increased knowledge of the specific programs and services available. In all, 77.4% rated the visit very effective, and follow-up evaluation suggests visits led to an increase in referral to these agencies (55%) and potentially enhanced early detection of dementia by physicians as measured by 35% making changes in the way they identify at-risk patients.