Primary Care Providers' Sources And Preferences For Cognitive Health Information In The United States

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Exercise Science


In most countries, physicians and other health-care providers play key roles in promoting health. Accumulating scientific evidence suggests that providers may soon want to include cognitive health among the areas they promote. Cognitive health is the maintenance of cognitive abilities that enable social connectedness, foster a sense of purpose, promote independent living, allow recovery from illness or injury and promote effective coping with functional deficits. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established health promotion about cognitive health as a policy priority, with health providers included as one key group to participate in this effort. This study presents results from focus groups and interviews with primary care physicians (n = 28) and midlevel health-care providers (physician assistants and nurse practitioners, n = 21) in three states of the US. Providers were asked about their sources of information on cognitive health and for their ideas on how best to communicate with primary care providers about research on cognitive health. In results, providers cited online sources, popular media and continuing medical education as their most common sources of information about cognitive health. Popular media sources were used both proactively and reactively to respond to patient inquiries. Differences in sources of information were noted for physicians as compared with midlevel providers, and for rural and urban providers. Several potential ways to disseminate information about cognitive health were identified. Effective messaging is likely to require multiple strategies to reach diverse groups of primary care providers, and to include continuing medical education.


PMID: 20624751

At the time of publication Anna E. Price was affiliated with Department of Health and Exercise Science, Furman University.