Objectives: To summarize national survey results for key clinical preventive services provided by primary care physicians, characterize the results by demographic and practice attributes of the respondents, and compare the results to those obtained in other studies.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Participants: A total of 3881 clinicians who provided primary care at least 50% of their time, randomly sampled from the professional associations representing family practitioners, pediatricians, internists, and OB-GYNs.
Measures: The Primary Care Providers Survey instrument of 1992, administered through the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, designed to assess the provision of clinical preventive services by primary caregivers.
Main results: Few of the physicians surveyed reported providing most indicated clinical preventive services more than 80% of the time. For the purposes of this paper, > 80% provision of preventive services is considered adequate. Female physicians reported providing more preventive services involving exercise, diet, alcohol/drugs, seatbelts, sexual activity, family planning, immunizations, and screening procedures. Physicians aged < 50 reported providing more preventive services involving smoking, alcohol/drugs, seatbelts, sexual activity, and family planning. Older physicians generally reported more delivery of vaccines and screening procedures. Practitioners from big metropolitan areas reported more preventive services involving alcohol/drugs and family planning while respondents in rural areas reported less immunizations and screening procedures. When analyzed by specialty, physicians reporting the most preventive care varied by type of preventive care.
Conclusions: Small differences in the self-report of provision of clinical preventive services between specialties and demographic subgroups did exist. At the time of this survey, however, no group of primary care physicians reported providing clinical preventive services to their patients at adequate levels.