BACKGROUND: Primary care has a significant role in AKI management: two-thirds of AKI originates in the community. Through academic detailing (an evidence-based educational approach) we aimed to implement and measure the effect of a primary care-based education programme based around academic detailing and peer-reviewed audit. METHODS: The education programme took place across a large clinical commissioning group (CCG) consisting of 55 primary care practices. All 55 practices participated in large group teaching sessions, 25 practices participated in academic detailing and 28 of the remaining 30 practices performed internal AKI audit. Over a 12 month period, an educational programme was delivered consisting of large group teaching sessions followed by either academic detailing sessions or self-directed AKI audit activity. Academic detailing sessions consisted of a short presentation by a consultant nephrologist followed by discussion of cases. Qualitative feedback was collected from all participants at peer review sessions. Web-based, CCG-wide questionnaires assessed baseline and post-intervention knowledge levels. RESULTS: Nine hundred ninety-six individuals completed the questionnaires (556 at baseline, 440 at 1 yr., 288 participated in both). Exposure to AKI teaching, self-reported awareness and confidence levels were higher in the second questionnaire. There was a significant increase in the percentage of correct answers before and after the intervention (55.6 ± 21% versus 87.5 ± 20%, p < 0.001). Improvements were also seen in practices that did not participate in academic detailing. 92.9% of participants in the academic detailing sessions ranked their usefulness as high, but half of participants expressed some anxiety about discussion of cases in front of peers. CONCLUSION: Primary care education can improve knowledge and awareness of AKI. Small group teaching with involvement of a nephrologist was popular, although there were mixed responses to group discussion of real cases. Academic detailing did not appear more effective than other educational formats.