Background: Although cardiovascular prediction rules are recommended by guidelines to evaluate global cardiovascular risk for primary prevention, they are rarely used in primary care. Little is known about barriers for application. The objective of this study was to evaluate barriers impeding the application of cardiovascular prediction rules in primary prevention.
Methods: We performed a postal survey among general physicians in two Swiss Cantons by a purpose designed questionnaire.
Results: 356 of 772 dispatched questionnaires were returned (response rate 49.3%). About three quarters (74%) of general physicians rarely or never use cardiovascular prediction rules. Most often stated barriers to apply prediction rules among rarely- or never-users are doubts concerning over-simplification of risk assessment using these instruments (58%) and potential risk of (medical) over-treatment (54%). 57% report that the numerical information resulting from prediction rules is often not helpful for decision-making in practice.
Conclusion: If regular application of cardiovascular prediction rules in primary care is in demand additional interventions are needed to increase acceptance of these tools for patient management among general physicians.