Delivery of Preventive Services to Older Adults by Primary Care Physicians - American Board of Medical Specialties

This study, using Medicare claims data, explored an association between physician and practice characteristics, and the  quality of preventive care received by Medicare patients. Over 3,000 physicians providing care to over 24, 000 Medicare patients (65 and older), who participated in an ongoing practice survey study, were included in the analyses. Physician variables included training, certification, qualifications, and gender, and practice variables included practice type, size, sources of revenue, and access to information technology. Study results were adjusted for patient demographics, comorbidity, and community characteristics. Large variations in the quality of care were found, based on physician characteristics. Patients treated in group practices were more likely to receive preventative services than those treated in solo/2 person practices or institution-based practices. Also, board certified physicians were more likely to deliver some, but not all, preventative services. Information technology, availability of clinical guidelines, or physician reminders showed only a limited improvement in delivery of preventative care services. It is important to note that physicians lacking board certification made up only 15% of participants; lastly, claims data may not necessarily capture all preventive care services rendered, and there was no certainty that physicians, analyzed in this study, were always the main sources of primary care for the beneficiaries.

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