Infections that last

August 2009


GP management of erectile dysfunction

The impact of clinical audit and guidelines

Volume 38, No.8, August 2009 Pages 637-641

Catherine N Kirby

Leon Piterman

Caroline Giles


This study evaluated a clinical audit and evidence based practice guide designed to improve general practitioners’ assessment and management of erectile dysfunction.


A self selected sample of 25 GPs audited their assessment and management of 1354 patients at risk of, or being treated for, erectile dysfunction.


General practitioners reported several significant improvements across the audit period:

  • GP initiated discussions about erectile dysfunction with ‘at risk’ patients nearly doubled
  • an 18% increase in psychological history taking with ‘at risk’ patients
  • a 19% increase in assessment of current erectile dysfunction patients’ needs and preferences for treatment
  • decreased specialist referrals
  • increased provision of phosphodiesterase inhibitor samples.


This clinical audit and practice guide was developed specifically and uniquely for GPs in Australia. Findings provide some support for the combined use of the clinical audit and practice guide to elicit positive changes in erectile dysfunction assessment and management.

Approximately one in 5 Australian men over 40 years of age experience erectile dysfunction (ED), yet this common condition often goes undetected and undertreated.1–2 The Men in Australia Telephone Survey (MATeS) found that only 30% of men experiencing erectile difficulties had spoken to a health professional.1 Of these men, only 58% received treatment. Furthermore, international data suggests that up to 70% of ED cases remain untreated.3

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