Survey finds fewer than one in five PCPs make guideline-consistent recommendations to patients

-- Jeff Muise

Thursday, October 21, 2010 (Last Updated: 10/22/2010)

THURSDAY, Oct. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Fewer than one-fifth of primary care physicians (PCPs) comply with practice guidelines for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening, according to the results of a National Cancer Institute survey published online Oct. 14 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

K. Robin Yabroff, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues analyzed data from a 2007 survey of 1,266 PCPs about their practices and screening recommendations, including screening modality, age of initiation, and screening intervals. The survey covered fecal occult blood testing, flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and double contrast barium enema. The researchers classified the respondents' screening recommendations as guideline-consistent for all, some, or none of the screening modalities.

The investigators found that only 19.1 percent of PCPs made recommendations across all screening modalities consistent with current screening guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the American Cancer Society. Colonoscopy, the most expensive type of screening, was the modality most often recommended at a frequency exceeding the guidelines. Factors associated with guideline-consistent recommendations included younger physician age, board certification, north central geographic region, and use of electronic medical records.

"Interventions that focus on potentially modifiable physician and practice factors that influence overuse and underuse and address the menu of recommended screening modalities will be important for improving screening practice," the authors write.

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Specialties Gastroenterology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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