Dear primary care providers,
You are invited to participate in an online survey on Ontario Family Doctors’ Attitude and Practice Pattern on Digital Rectal Exam (DRE). The survey will only take 5-10 mins of your time; participation is voluntary, and anonymous. This project has been approved by Queens University Health Science Research Ethics Board.
Family doctors’ practice patterns regarding DRE have changed dramatically over the years. Based on the most recent evidence, digital rectal exam is not the recommended method for colorectal cancer screening and there is insufficient evidence for DRE based prostate cancer screening, and it is against PAS based screening for prostate cancer. There is also insufficient evidence for routine DRE on periodic health examinations. Consequently, DRE is slowly gone out of practice, even though in some clinics, DRE is still considered part of every complete abdominal exam.
We are asking for your opinion regarding DRE and to better understanding what is currently happening in Ontario family medicine practices. It is hoped this information might help the future guideline recommendations.
Secondly, DRE is a difficult practical skill to acquire by students, and teaching it to students can also be very difficult. Recent research has shown that Canadian medical students’ and junior physicians’ training on DRE is limited. In light of this, we also ask your opinion of your own training on DRE and how to improve the training for family medicine residents.
If you have any questions, concerns or would like to speak to the study team for any reason, please contact Dr. Wenli Zhang at (647) 232-6796.
If you have any questions about your rights as a research participant or have concerns about this study, please contact Dr. Albert Clark- Chair of the Queen’s University Health Sciences and Affiliated Teaching Hospitals Research Ethics Board at (613) 533-6081.
Hopefully, this survey will help with sharing the most recent evidence, promoting the medical knowledge, get to know the practice pattern and attitude of family doctors in Ontario toward DRE and enhance effective DRE instruction for residents.
You opinions are highly valued, and your time and input are highly appreciated.
Survey Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/N5XDF7V
Wenli Zhang, PGY2 Family Medicine Resident
Project supervisor: Dr. Richard Birtwhistle