Primary Care Physicians Practicing Preventive Medicine in the Outpatient Setting

David Snipelisky, Kimberly Carter, Karna Sundsted, M. Caroline Burton


Background: Preventive care is an important part of primary care medicine, yet much variation in its practice exists. The aim of this study is to assess physicians’ perspectives of practicing
preventive medicine and evaluate which topics are deemed most important.

Methods: All primary care medicine providers at two separate academic medical centers (Mayo Clinic, MN and Mayo Clinic, FL) were surveyed via an E-mail questionnaire assessing
physicians’ perception of the role of preventive medicine during both acute/routine and yearly visits, physicians’ perception of patients’ response to preventive medicine topics, and which
preventive medicine topics are commonly practiced.

Results: Of 445 providers meeting inclusion criteria, a total of 183 (41.1%) responded. Providers were more likely to engage patients in preventive medicine during yearly visits more
so than acute visits (3.82 vs. 4.72, range 1–5 Likert Scale), yet providers were very likely to partake in such practices during both visits. Providers perceived that patients received the
practice of preventive medicine very well (4.13 on 1–5 Likert Scale). No significant difference between provider practice and patient perception was noted between the two sites, although
there was some variation based on clinical experience of the provider. Providers were found to most commonly practice topics recommended by the United States Preventive Services
Task Force.

Conclusions: Our study found a high predisposition to practicing preventive medicine. Providers seem to practice according to published evidence-based medicine recommendations.

Keywords: Preventive medicine, primary care medicine, United States Preventive Services Task Force guidelines

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