Indexed on: 02 Apr '08Published on: 02 Apr '08Published in: Obstetrics and gynecology
To estimate how preventive services and counseling differ for women seen by general medical physicians and gynecologists, and whether seeing both types of physicians had a greater impact on delivery of gender-specific and gender-neutral preventive care than by either type of physician alone.Using data from the 2000 National Health Interview Survey, we studied the association of provider type with Pap tests, tobacco use screening, and exercise and diet counseling among women 18-64 years (n=7,317), and these services along with clinical breast examinations, mammograms, and colon cancer screening among women aged 50-64 years (n=1,551). We modeled care using multivariable logistic regression and used propensity score techniques to limit selection bias from choice of provider.In the study sample, 15% were seen by general medical physicians, 62% by gynecologists, and 23% by both. Overall rates of gender-specific services (Pap test, clinical breast examination, mammography) were high (88-95%), whereas gender-neutral services were low (23-53%). Patients of gynecologists only were more likely to have Pap tests (adjusted relative risk [RR] 1.26, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.24-1.27), tobacco use screening (adjusted RR 1.08, 95% CI 1.02-1.14), mammography (adjusted RR 1.25, 95% CI 1.20-1.28), and clinical breast examination (adjusted RR 1.25, 95% CI 1.19-1.29). In general, combined gynecologist and general care did not increase the likelihood of preventive care. Propensity score analyses confirmed these results.Patients of gynecologists receive more preventive services compared with patients of general medical physicians, although rates of gender-neutral services were low regardless of provider type. These findings validate gynecologists' roles as providers of basic preventive care services but demonstrate that considerable room exists to improve delivery of preventive care to women.