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Developing clinical decision tools to implement chronic disease prevention and screening in primary care: the BETTER 2 program (building on existing tools to improve chronic disease prevention and screening in primary care)



The Building on Existing Tools to Improve Chronic Disease Prevention and Screening in Family Practice (BETTER) trial demonstrated the effectiveness of an approach to chronic disease prevention and screening (CDPS) through a new skilled role of a 'prevention practitioner'(PP). The PP has appointments with patients 40-65 years of age that focus on primary prevention activities and screening of cancer (breast, colorectal, cervical), diabetes and cardiovascular disease and associated lifestyle factors. There are numerous and occasionally conflicting evidence-based guidelines for CDPS, and the majority of these guidelines are focused on specific diseases or conditions; however, primary care providers often attend to patients with multiple conditions. To ensure that high-level evidence guidelines were used, existing clinical practice guidelines and tools were reviewed and integrated into blended BETTER tool kits. Building on the results of the BETTER trial, the BETTER tools were updated for implementation of the BETTER 2 program into participating urban, rural and remote communities across Canada.


A clinical working group consisting of PPs, clinicians and researchers with support from the Centre for Effective Practice reviewed the literature to update, revise and adapt the integrated evidence algorithms and tool kits used in the BETTER trial. These resources are nuanced, based on individual patient risk, values and preferences and are designed to facilitate decision-making between providers across the target diseases and lifestyle factors included in the BETTER 2 program. Using the updated BETTER 2 toolkit, clinicians 1) determine which CDPS actions patients are eligible to receive and 2) develop individualized 'prevention prescriptions' with patients through shared decision-making and motivational interviewing.


The tools identify the patients' risks and eligible primary CDPS activities: the patient survey captures the patient's health history; the prevention visit form and integrated CDPS care map identify eligible CDPS activities and facilitate decisions when certain conditions are met; and the 'bubble diagram' and 'prevention prescription' promote shared decision-making.


The integrated clinical decision-making tools of BETTER 2 provide resources for clinicians and policymakers that address patients' complex care needs beyond single disease approaches and can be adapted to facilitate CDPS in the urban, rural and remote clinical setting.

Trial registration

The registration number of the original RCT BETTER trial was ISRCTN07170460 .

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