Practitioner Gender and Quality of Care in Ambulatory Cardiology Practices: A Report From the National Cardiovascular Data Practice Innovation and Clinical Excellence (PINNACLE) Registry

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Abstract

Background:

Some studies suggest that female practitioners are more likely to provide guideline-concordant care than male practitioners; however, little is known about the role of practitioner gender in cardiology.

Objective:

The aim of the study was to measure the association between practitioner gender and adherence to the cardiovascular performance measures in the American College of Cardiology's ambulatory Practice Innovation and Clinical Excellence Registry.

Methods:

Patients with at least 1 outpatient visit with a unique practitioner were included. Among eligible patients, adherence to 7 guideline-supported performance measures for coronary artery disease, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation over 12 months after registry entry was compared by practitioner gender using hierarchical models adjusting for practitioner type (physicians vs advance practice practitioners) and number of visits.

Results:

The study cohort included 1493 individual practitioners who saw 769 139 patients; 80% of practitioners were men. Male practitioners were more often physicians compared with female practitioners (98.2% vs 43.7%, P < .01). Accounting for practitioner category and visit frequency, guideline adherence rates were similar by practitioner gender for all measures with the exception of marginally higher rates for coronary artery disease performance measures for male practitioners compared with female practitioners (antiplatelet: rate ratio [RR] = 1.06; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.03–1.09; β-blockers: RR = 1.06; 95% CI, 1.01–1.10; and lipid-lowering drug: RR = 1.07; 95% CI, 1.04–1.10) and atrial fibrillation (oral anticoagulants: RR = 1.05; 95% CI, 1.01–1.09).

Conclusion:

Male practitioners marginally outperformed their female counterparts in ambulatory practices enrolled in a voluntary cardiovascular performance improvement registry program. Overall low adherence to some performance measures suggests room for improvement among all practitioners.

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