The Effect of Primary Care Physician Knowledge of Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines on Perceptions and Utilization of Low-Dose Computed Tomography

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Abstract

Introduction

Lung cancer screening (LCS) with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) is recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) in high-risk patients, but a minority of eligible people are screened. It is not clear whether knowledge of USPSTF recommendations among primary care physicians (PCP) affects utilization of LDCT.

Methods

A randomly selected sample of 1384 PCPs in Los Angeles County was surveyed between January and October 2015, using surveys sent by mail, fax, and e-mail. The response rate was 18% (n = 250). Training background, years in practice, practice type, and respondent demographics were collected. We analyzed results based on the response to a question on whether the USPSTF recommends the use of LDCT to screen high-risk individuals for lung cancer.

Results

A total of 117 (47%) PCPs responded that the USPSTF recommends LDCT for LCS. Of PCPs who were aware of USPSTF recommendations, 97% responded that CT was effective at reducing lung cancer mortality among individuals meeting eligibility criteria, compared with 90% who were unaware of guidelines (P = .02). A larger proportion of PCPs aware of guidelines ordered LDCT (71% vs. 38%, P < .001) and initiated a discussion on screening (86% vs. 62%, P < .001). Both groups of PCPs reported similar perceptions of barriers to screening, such as insurance coverage, risks of LCS, and cost to society. Practice size, training background, and years in practice did not affect knowledge of guidelines.

Discussion

Awareness of USPSTF recommendations for LDCT is associated with increased utilization of LDCT for screening. Educational interventions for PCPs may improve adherence with LCS recommendations.

Micro-Abstract

Lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) is recommended in high-risk patients, but a minority of eligible people are screened. Here we analyzed the results of a survey of 250 PCPs to determine whether knowledge guidelines were associated with utilization of LDCT, and to understand what physician features were associated with guidelines knowledge. We found that awareness of guidelines was associated with increased LDCT utilization.

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