Utilization of Sigmoidoscopy by Family Physicians in Canada

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Abstract

Objective

To determine the extent to which sigmoidoscopy is used as an investigative tool by family physicians in Canada.

Design

Retrospective study of data from provincial and territorial health agencies for the fiscal year 1989.

Setting

Canada.

Participants

All family physicians.

Main outcome measures

Number of physicians in each province and territory who performed sigmoidoscopy (flexible and rigid), type of physician (generalist or specialist), number of procedures performed, fee schedule and number of physicians billing medicare in each province and territory.

Results

During the study period 3849 (15.1%) of all family physicians performed rigid sigmoidoscopy; the proportion varied from 3.4% (in Quebec) to 40.0% (in the Northwest Territories). A total of 43 914 rigid sigmoidoscopies were performed by family physicians, representing 23% of all such procedures. Flexible sigmoidoscopy was performed by 381 (1.5%) of all family physicians; the proportion varied from 0.4% (in Quebec) to 6.8% (in Prince Edward Island). A total of 5361 flexible sigmoidoscopies were performed, representing 6.0% of all such procedures.

Conclusion

The proportion of Canadian family physicians who are using sigmoidoscopy, rigid or flexible, as a diagnostic tool is low.

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