Context Evolving concussion diagnosis/management tools and guidelines make Knowledge Transfer and Exchange (KTE) to practitioners challenging.
Objective Identify sports concussion knowledge base and practise patterns in two family physician populations; explore current/preferred methods of KTE.
Design A cross-sectional study.
Setting Family physicians in Alberta, Canada (CAN) and North/South Dakota, USA.
Participants CAN physicians were recruited by mail: 2.5% response rate (80/3154); US physicians through a database: 20% response rate (109/545).
Intervention/instrument Online survey.
Main and secondary outcome measures Diagnosis/management strategies for concussions, and current/preferred KTE.
Results Main reported aetiologies: sports/recreation (52.5% CAN); organised sports (76.5% US). Most physicians used clinical examination (93.8% CAN, 88.1% US); far fewer used the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT1/SCAT2) and balance testing. More US physicians initially used concussion-grading scales (26.7% vs 8.8% CAN, p=0.002); computerised neurocognitive testing (19.8% vs 1.3% CAN; p<0.001) and Standardised Assessment of Concussion (SAC) (21.8% vs 7.5% CAN; p=0.008). Most prescribed physical rest (83.8% CAN, 75.5% US), while fewer recommended cognitive rest (47.5% CAN, 28.4% US; p=0.008). Return-to-play decisions were based primarily on clinical examination (89.1% US, 73.8% CAN; p=0.007); US physicians relied more on neurocognitive testing (29.7% vs 5.0% CAN; p<0.001) and recognised guidelines (63.4% vs 23.8% CAN; p<0.001). One-third of Canadian physicians received KTE from colleagues, websites and medical school training. Leading KTE preferences included Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses and online CME.
Conclusions Existing published recommendations regarding diagnosis/management of concussion are not always translated into practise, particularly the recommendation for cognitive rest; predicating enhanced, innovative CME initiatives.
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