The BETTER Program: Building on Existing Tools to Improve Chronic Disease Prevention and Screening in Primary Care

November 25, 2021

The BETTER Institute (Building on Existing Tools to Improve Chronic Disease Prevention and Screening in Primary Care) is a not-for-profit organization that supports the long-term uptake and sustainability of the BETTER approach to cancer and chronic disease prevention and screening in primary care settings.

The institute has two primary areas of focus:

  • Training of healthcare professionals on the Prevention PractitionerTM role and BETTER approach, and
  • Providing implementation support to individual primary care practices and organizations interested in adopting the BETTER approach.

As part of the institute, the BETTER Program aims to improve chronic disease prevention and screening in primary care settings through a comprehensive, individualized approach provided by a Prevention PractitionerTM, which a healthcare provider on the team can train to be.

It is an innovative, evidence-based program for patients ages 40 to 65 that focuses on prevention and screening of cancer (breast, cervical, colorectal), heart disease, and diabetes. It also addresses lifestyle risk factors, such as physical activity, smoking, alcohol, and diet. 

Patients complete a comprehensive health survey to learn more about their personal health history, screening history, family history etc. Patients attend a one-on-one visit with a Prevention Practitioner TM to discuss their personalized cancer and chronic disease risk. Patients are supported to set S.M.A.R.T. goals and connect with resources to help lower their risk for cancer and chronic disease.

The program was developed by primary care providers for primary care providers.

 

Why BETTER?
Patients who have participated in the program have said that they value time spent on prevention. BETTER provides dedicated time for patients to discuss their personal risk for cancer and chronic disease with a healthcare professional. Patients learn how to take action to reduce their risk with a personalized approach that encourages them to take ownership of their own health and decide what changes they want to make. It gives patients the confidence in knowing that they are up to date with appropriate preventive screening.

This program sends the message to patients that proactive work is being done to address their prevention needs.

 

Training
Healthcare providers can enrol in a training session to become a Prevention PractitionerTM and gain enhanced skills in chronic disease prevention with access to the BETTER toolkit. 

Training is 11 hours of continuing education provided virtually over 2 or 3 days.

 

More information is here:
•    Introduction to The BETTER Program (PPT)
•    The BETTER Program – 2-pager
•    The BETTER Program - Prevention Practitioner Training Ad
•    Research Article: Building on existing tools to improve chronic disease prevention and screening in public health: a cluster randomized trial (2021)

 

If teams have any questions or would like more information, please contact Carolina Fernandes (Director, The Better Institute and Lead Coordinator, The BETTER Program) at carolina.fernandes@ualberta.ca