Effectiveness of an Internet-Based Curriculum in Increasing Health Care Providers' Knowledge of Herbs and Dietary Supplements

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00110539
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : May 11, 2005
Last Update Posted : May 24, 2012
Information provided by:
National Library of Medicine (NLM)

May 10, 2005
May 11, 2005
May 24, 2012
February 2004
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Changes in participant knowledge, confidence, and communication practices regarding herbs and dietary supplements
Same as current
Complete list of historical versions of study NCT00110539 on Archive Site
Impact of comfort with using technology on the primary outcomes
Same as current
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Effectiveness of an Internet-Based Curriculum in Increasing Health Care Providers' Knowledge of Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Internet-Based Curriculum About Herbs and Dietary Supplements

The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of four different strategies designed to improve clinicians' knowledge about herbs and dietary supplements. This study will also increase their confidence in their ability to answer patient questions about these topics.

Study hypotheses: 1) Delivery of modules over 10 weeks will lead to better educational outcomes than delivery of modules at one time. 2) The method of module delivery that directly lists the modules in an email will be associated with greater improvements in knowledge, confidence, and communication skills and greater satisfaction with the overall curriculum than methods that involve the delivery of only links to the modules in an email. 3) Active participation in a moderated mailing list will enhance outcomes and satisfaction with the curriculum more than non-participation or passive participation (reading the messages of others). 4) More positive attitudes toward the use of and greater use of computer and Internet technologies at baseline will be associated with more active participation in the mailing list; greater use of the modules delivered through links; greater improvements in knowledge, confidence, and communication; and more positive attitudes about the curriculum following participation in the study.

As herbal medicine use becomes more popular, health care providers may find that patients are asking questions about the risks and benefits of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) more frequently. It is important that providers have some knowledge about these therapies and are familiar with resources to which they can refer patients. This study will compare the effectiveness of four strategies used to deliver educational modules that can increase health care providers' knowledge about herbal medicine and dietary supplements.

This study will last about 10 weeks and will enroll a variety of health care providers, including physicians, physician assistants, pharmacists, dietitians, and nurses. At study entry, participants will be stratified by provider type. Participants will then be randomly assigned to 1 of 4 educational delivery strategies: delivery of educational modules all at one time directly through email, delivery of modules over 10 weeks directly through email, delivery of modules through an email message with a link to an Internet site containing all modules, or delivery of multiple emails over 10 weeks with links to an Internet site containing all modules.

Each module will begin with a brief clinical scenario followed by questions to assess knowledge, confidence about where to locate information, and the level of communication that providers have engaged in with their patients. Participants will complete questionnaires at study entry and at Week 10. The questionnaires will assess the use of and attitudes toward Internet technology, motivation for participating in the course, and knowledge, attitudes, and communication practices related to the clinical use of herbs and dietary supplements. Participants will have the opportunity to participate in a moderated mailing list where they can discuss CAM-related topics with other providers and read the discussions of others. In addition, after completing the curriculum, participants will complete questionnaires about their use of and attitudes toward the intervention they received in the study.

Not Applicable
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double
Behavioral: Complementary and alternative medicine education
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*   Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by Identifier (NCT Number) in Medline.
Same as current
December 2004
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Inclusion Criteria:

  • Live and work in the United States
  • Licensed to provide health care in the United States
  • Have regular access to the Internet and an e-mail address that can be checked at least twice weekly for at least 4 months
  • Willing to complete all study assessments

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Previous enrollment in this curriculum
Sexes Eligible for Study: All
Child, Adult, Older Adult
Contact information is only displayed when the study is recruiting subjects
United States
R01LM007709( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
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National Library of Medicine (NLM)
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Principal Investigator: Kathi Kemper, MD Wake Forest University Health Sciences
National Library of Medicine (NLM)
August 2006

ICMJE     Data element required by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the World Health Organization ICTRP