Introduction: Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is the treatment of choice for male hypogonadism. British Society for Sexual Medicine (BSSM) guidelines on adult testosterone deficiency recommend that TRT patients undergo annual monitoring of their testosterone levels and potential complications of treatment; though evidence suggests that substantial numbers of men on TRT are not monitored adequately.
Methods: Review of the electronic patient record from a single general practice in southwest Scotland revealed that only 1 of 26 (4%) TRT patients had been monitored as per BSSM guidelines in the previous 12 months. Additionally, when monitoring was undertaken there was inconsistency in the blood tests requested. The use of quality improvement (QI) tools including process mapping and cause-and-effect diagram identified staff and patient knowledge of monitoring requirements and the lack of an effective recall system as areas for improvement. We tested three change ideas: the utilisation of an existing recall system for long-term therapies; a TRT Ordercomms blood group template (OBGT) to standardise monitoring; and a patient information leaflet (PIL) to improve patient education. The aim of this project was to achieve 60% annual monitoring rate.
Results: The percentage of patients monitored for testosterone levels and potential TRT complications increased from 4% (1/26) to 65% (17/26) over a 7-week test period. The utilisation of the existing recall system was a particularly effective intervention, leading to an increase from 4% (1/26) to 31% (8/26) in the first 2 weeks.
Conclusion: The use of QI tools was associated with over 60% of male TRT patients receiving comprehensive annual monitoring, as per BSSM guidelines. Our findings support the hypothesis that a patient recall system, combined with an OBGT and a PIL led to this increase.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy
- Primary Health Care
- Sexual Behavior
- Testosterone/adverse effects