Background. Little is known about the effect of guidelines that recommend shared decision making on physician practice patterns. The objective of this study was to determine the association between physicians' perceived effect of guidelines on clinical practice and self-reported prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening patterns. Methods. This was a cross-sectional study using a nationally representative sample of 3914 primary care physicians participating in the 1998-1999 Community Tracking Study Physician Survey. Responses to a case vignette that asked physicians what proportion of asymptomatic 60-year-old white men they would screen with a PSA were divided into 3 distinct groups: consistent PSA screeners (screen all), variable screeners (screen 1%- 99%), and consistent nonscreeners (screen none). Logistic regression was used to determine the association between PSA screening patterns and physician-reported effect of guidelines (no effect v. any magnitude effect). Results. Only 27% of physicians were variable PSA screeners; the rest were consistent screeners (60%) and consistent nonscreeners (13%). Only 8% of physicians perceived guidelines to have no effect on their practice. After adjustment for demographic and practice characteristics, variable screeners were more likely to report any magnitude effect of guidelines on their practice when compared with physicians in the other 2 groups (adjusted odds ratio= 1.73; 95% confidence interval=1:25-2:38;P= 0:001). Conclusions. Physicians who perceive an effect of guidelines on their practice are almost twice as likely to exhibit screening PSA practice variability, whereas physicians who do not perceive an effect of guidelines on their practice are more likely to be consistent PSA screeners or consistent PSA nonscreeners.
- Mass screening
- Physicians' practice patterns
- Prostate-specific antigen
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy