Timeliness of abnormal screening and diagnostic mammography follow-up at facilities serving vulnerable women

Med Care. 2013 Apr;51(4):307-14. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0b013e318280f04c.

Abstract

Background: Whether timeliness of follow-up after abnormal mammography differs at facilities serving vulnerable populations, such as women with limited education or income, in rural areas, and racial/ethnic minorities is unknown.

Methods: We examined receipt of diagnostic evaluation after abnormal mammography using 1998-2006 Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium-linked Medicare claims. We compared whether time to recommended breast imaging or biopsy depended on whether women attended facilities serving vulnerable populations. We characterized a facility by the proportion of mammograms performed on women with limited education or income, in rural areas, or racial/ethnic minorities.

Results: We analyzed 30,874 abnormal screening examinations recommended for follow-up imaging across 142 facilities and 10,049 abnormal diagnostic examinations recommended for biopsy across 114 facilities. Women at facilities serving populations with less education or more racial/ethnic minorities had lower rates of follow-up imaging (4%-5% difference, P<0.05), and women at facilities serving more rural and low-income populations had lower rates of biopsy (4%-5% difference, P<0.05). Women undergoing biopsy at facilities serving vulnerable populations had longer times until biopsy than those at facilities serving nonvulnerable populations (21.6 vs. 15.6 d; 95% confidence interval for mean difference 4.1-7.7). The proportion of women receiving recommended imaging within 11 months and biopsy within 3 months varied across facilities (interquartile range, 85.5%-96.5% for imaging and 79.4%-87.3% for biopsy).

Conclusions: Among Medicare recipients, follow-up rates were slightly lower at facilities serving vulnerable populations, and among those women who returned for diagnostic evaluation, time to follow-up was slightly longer at facilities that served vulnerable population. Interventions should target variability in follow-up rates across facilities, and evaluate effectiveness particularly at facilities serving vulnerable populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy
  • Delayed Diagnosis / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Medicare / statistics & numerical data
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vulnerable Populations / statistics & numerical data*