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Educating Physicians to Treat Erectile Dysfunction Patients: Development and Evaluation of a Course on Communication and Management Strategies


Dimitrios Hatzichristou, MD, 77 Mitropoleos str, 54622 Thessaloniki, Greece. Tel: +30 6944 541 516; Fax: +30 2310 263 939; E-mail:


Purpose.  To describe the development and assess the outcome of a workshop on erectile dysfunction (ED) management based on participating physicians evaluations.

Method.  The study involved physicians who attended a workshop offered throughout the country, during a 3-year period. The workshop included tutorials, video-based dramatizations, and role-play sessions. A pilot study investigated the workshop's impact on physicians’ attitudes toward patient-centeredness and sexual behavior issues; Patient–Practitioner Orientation Scale (PPOS) and Cross Cultural Attitude Scale (CCAS) were administered before and after the course. New knowledge acquisition, quality of presentation, and workshop's usefulness in their clinical practice were the dimensions used for workshop's evaluation. Analysis used quantitative and qualitative methods.

Results.  A total of 194 questionnaires were administered during the pilot study and the response rate was 53.6%. A shift in attitudes toward patient-centeredness and less judgmental attitude toward patients’ sexual attitudes were revealed (total PPOS score and Sharing subscale: P < 0.05, CCAS: P < 0.001). Six hundred physicians were asked to evaluate the workshops and the response rate was 62.3%. The tutorial session for “medical treatment of ED” (P < 0.001) and the role-play on sexual history taking (P < 0.05) received higher evaluation scores. Qualitative analysis showed that the most frequently reported category referred to the appropriateness of role-play as a teaching and awareness-raising technique (31.25%); a need for changes in clinical practice and communication patterns was identified by 20% of the participants who stressed the necessity for multidisciplinary approach, as well as the adoption of a nonjudgmental attitude toward patients.

Conclusion.  Training courses on ED management, using a combination of tutorial and interactive sessions, constitute an effective way of providing knowledge, enhancing physicians’ communication skills with ED patients, and influencing attitudes toward patient-centeredness in sexual issues. Such results strongly support the establishment of sexual medicine courses at continuing medical education curricula. Athanasiadis L, Papaharitou S, Salpiggidis G, Tsimtsiou Z, Nakopoulou E, Kirana P-S, Moisidis K, and Hatzichristou D. Educating physicians to treat erectile dysfunction patients: development and evaluation of a course on communication and management strategies. J Sex Med 2006;3:47–55.