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Characteristics of Primary Care Office Systems as Predictors of Mammography Utilization

Peter Gann, MD, MS; Sharon K. Melville, MD, MPH; and Roger Luckmann, MD, MPH
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From Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois; University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts. Request for Reprints: Peter Gann, MD, Department of Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University Medical School, 680 North Lake Shore Drive, Suite 1102, Chicago, IL 60611. Acknowledgments: The authors thank Ralph Prows, MD, Jean Kapetanios, and Judith Scaca of Central Massachusetts Health Care, Inc.; Lloyd Rice and Betsey Cagle-Rice of Auburn Systems Corporation for help in obtaining and preparing the data discussed in this report; Nancy Gilardi for assistance with data collection; and Stephen Raudenbush, PhD, for statistical consultation. Grant Support: In part by a grant from the Scientific Council of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.

Copyright 2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1993;118(11):893-898. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-118-11-199306010-00011
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Objective: To evaluate the association between primary care office systems and mammography utilization by women older than 50 years.

Design: Cross-sectional.

Setting: An independent-practice association health maintenance organization (HMO) in Massachusetts.

Participants: One hundred thirty-two primary care practices, representing 321 physicians and 4378 women with at least 12 months of recent, continuous assignment to a practice participating in the HMO.

Measurements: Practice characteristics and procedures for mammography referral and follow-up were ascertained by interviews of office managers. For each practice, the proportion of women older than 50 years who received a mammogram during their most recent 12-month period of assignment to the practice was calculated.

Main Results: Forty-five percent of eligible women received a mammogram during their most recent year of assignment to an HMO practice. In a regression model, use of one particular urban mammography center, group practice, and low percentage of Medicaid patients in the practice were each associated with 9% to 12% higher mammography utilization; use of flowsheets and the scheduling of mammograms by the patients themselves were associated with 7% to 9% higher utilization. Smaller, nonsignificant increases were associated with the use of reminders to patients (5%) and the presence of only internists on staff (5%). The model accounted for 51% of the variation in mammography utilization among practices.

Conclusions: Mammography utilization among women older than 50 years, in a population in which cost was not a barrier, was related to specific office characteristics. Features of the mammography center, the process for scheduling mammograms, the use of flowsheets to prompt physicians, and the use of reminders to patients are important.


Grahic Jump Location
Figure 1.
Observed and predicted proportion of women receiving a mammographic evaluation by category of practice size.Table 3

See for regression model coefficients.

Grahic Jump Location




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