Barriers and gaps in headache education: a national cross-sectional survey of neurology residents in Denmark

Thien Phu Do, Mikala Dømgaard, Simon Stefansen, Espen Saxhaug Kristoffersen, Messoud Ashina, Jakob Møller Hansen*

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde


BACKGROUND: A major barrier to adequate headache care is the relative lack of formal education and training of healthcare professionals. Concerted efforts should be made to pinpoint major gaps in knowledge in healthcare professionals to facilitate better educational policies in headache training. The aim of this study was to identify deficiencies and barriers in headache training among residents in neurology in Denmark.

METHODS: We conducted a national cross-sectional survey of residents in neurology in Denmark from April 2019 to September 2019. The survey included questions on participant demographics, knowledge of and barriers in headache disorders, guidelines and diagnostic tools usage, contact with primary and tertiary care, medication overuse, and non-pharmacological interventions. Furthermore, respondents were asked to provide a ranked list from most to least interesting for six sub-specializations/disorders, i.e., cerebrovascular disease, dementia, epilepsy, headache, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease.

RESULTS: Sixty (40%) out of estimated a population of ~ 150 resident across Denmark accepted the invitation. Of these, 54/60 (90%) completed the survey. Although two-thirds, 35/54 (65%), of the respondents had prior formalized training in headache disorders, we identified gaps in all explored domains including diagnosis, management, and referral patterns. Particularly, there was an inconsistent use of guidelines and diagnostic criteria from the Danish Headache Society (2.74 (± 1.14)), the Danish Neurological Society (3.15 (± 0.86)), and the International Classification of Headache Disorders (2.33 (± 1.08)); 1: never/have not heard of, 4: always. Headache was ranked second to last out of six sub-specializations in interest.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall knowledge on headache disorders amongst neurology residents in Denmark do not meet the expectations set out by national and international recommendations. Stakeholders should make strategic initiatives for structured education in headache for improved clinical outcomes in parallel with costs reduction through resource optimization.

TidsskriftBMC Medical Education
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)1-9
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - 2022


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