Objective: The Emergency Department (ED) is in a strategic position to recognize the major public health problems, identify underlying causes of diseases, and initiate targeted strategies to address the health-related behaviors that put individuals and communities at risk of adverse health outcomes. The objectives of this study were to describe the Health Promotion and Education (HPE) beliefs and practices of Emergency Medicine (EM) residents from accredited training programs in the Philippines.
Methods: Survey questionnaires were distributed to all the trainees as total enumeration was employed. Associations between qualitative variables were analyzed using Chi-square and Fischer’s exact test at a 95% level of confidence.
Results: Among the 203 residents, who answered the survey, mean age=31.06 ± 3.49, 54.68% were men and 70.44% were training in public hospitals. The EM physicians were recognized as the main providers of HPE activities at the ED. Residents who went on duty 6-7 days/week (p=0.013), worked at public hospitals (p=0.019) and saw mostly emergent and urgent patients (p=0.028) were significantly more prepared to counsel regarding health promotion and disease prevention. However, the overall performance of HPE activities at the ED was not associated with any demographic or working environment data. Despite the absence of several appropriate supports to perform HPE interventions, the majority of the EM residents still believed that behaviors promoting the health of an average person were important and they can successfully help change behaviors if given the proper support to implement the HPE interventions at the ED.
Conclusion: The current study recognized the role of EM physicians in delivering HPE activities at the ED and its importance despite the lack of support for its provision. It is therefore recommended that a more cohesive approach must be undertaken to incorporate HPE competencies in the EM training curricula, to arm residents with the needed public health knowledge and skills, and to make appropriate support in the ED readily available.