A Survey of Interventional Cardiologists’ Attitudes and Beliefs About Public Reporting of Percutaneous Coronary Intervention

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Abstract

Importance

Public reporting of procedural outcomes has been associated with lower rates of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and worse outcomes after myocardial infarction. Contemporary data are limited on the influence of public reporting on interventional cardiologists’ clinical decision making.

Objective

To survey a contemporary cohort of interventional cardiologists in Massachusetts and New York about how public reporting of PCI outcomes influences clinical decision making.

Design, Setting, and Participants

An online survey was developed with public reporting experts and administered electronically to eligible physicians in Massachusetts and New York who were identified by Doximity (an online physician networking site) and 2014 Medicare fee-for-service claims for PCI procedures. The personal and hospital characteristics of participants were ascertained via a comprehensive database from Doximity and the American Hospital Association annual surveys of US hospitals (2012 and 2013) and linked to survey responses. Associations between survey responses and characteristics of participants were evaluated in univariable and multivariable analyses.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Reported rate of avoidance of performing PCIs in high-risk patients and of perception of pressure from colleagues to avoid performing PCIs.

Results

Of the 456 physicians approached, 149 (32.7%) responded, including 67 of 129 (51.9%) in Massachusetts and 82 of 327 (25.1%) in New York. The mean (SD) age was 49 (9.2) years; 141 of 149 participants (94.6%) were men. Most participants reported practicing at medium to large, nonprofit hospitals with high-volume cardiac catheterization laboratories and cardiothoracic surgery capabilities. In 2014, participants had higher annual PCI volumes among Medicare patients than nonparticipants did (median, 31; interquartile range [IQR], 13-47 vs median, 17; IQR, 0-41; P < .001). Among participants, 65% reported avoiding PCIs on at least 2 occasions becase of concern that a bad outcome would negatively impact their publicly reported outcomes; 59% reported sometimes or often being pressured by colleagues to avoid performing PCIs because of a concern about the patient’s risk of death. After multivariable adjustment, more years of experience practicing interventional cardiology was associated with lower odds of PCI avoidance. The state of practice was not associated with survey responses.

Conclusions and Relevance

Current PCI public reporting programs can foster risk-averse clinical practice patterns, which do not vary significantly between interventional cardiologists in New York and Massachusetts. Coordinated efforts by policy makers, health systems leadership, and the interventional cardiology community are needed to mitigate these unintended consequences.

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