Objective: To determine the association between physician characteristics and the use of beta-adrenergic blocking agents after acute myocardial infarction in a national managed care organization.
Study design: Retrospective administrative data analysis.
Participants and methods: The study cohort consisted of 473 physicians who prescribed the medications and 578 patients who (1) experienced an acute myocardial infarction between January 1, 1995, and December 31, 1996, with at least 1 cardiac medication claim within 7 days of hospital discharge; (2) were not previously taking beta-adrenergic blocking agents; and (3) had none of several defined contraindications to the medication. Using multivariate models, we assessed the relation between physician characteristics and initiation of beta-adrenergic blocking agent therapy, controlling for patient characteristics and cardiac treatments.
Results: Sixty-two percent of patients filled a prescription for beta-adrenergic blocking agents within 7 days of hospital discharge. Physician characteristics, including specialty and region of hospitalization, were independently associated with the use beta-adrenergic blocking agents. Family practice physicians and other noninternists were much less likely than cardiologists to prescribe beta-adrenergic blocking agents. The other most important predictors of the use of beta-adrenergic blocking agents were region of hospitalization and patient age.
Conclusions: Physician characteristics are associated with the use of beta-adrenergic blocking agents. Although there are opportunities to improve practice for all physicians, family practice physicians and noninternists have the most opportunity to improve.