Reducing overuse of tests such as dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans in younger women is an important quality issue. We evaluated trends in DXA ordering before and after Choosing Wisely recommendations were released. We found no significant difference in ordering trends suggesting that other initiatives are needed to change behavior.
Introduction: Reducing overuse of tests such as dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans in younger women is an important quality issue, but trends in care are difficult to change. We evaluated (1) trends in DXA ordering before and after the Choosing Wisely recommendation release and (2) patterns of key characteristics that indicate a potentially appropriate DXA scan order.
Methods: We performed a retrospective longitudinal analysis of electronic health record data at a multi-specialty, ambulatory care network of 34 practices across Maryland and Washington, DC. Since the Choosing Wisely DXA recommendation was released April 2012, the study periods were April-December 2011 (pre-initiative) and April-December 2012 (post-initiative). Women between 50 and 64 years with primary care encounters, and primary care providers who saw ten or more women in the study population in both pre and post periods were included.
Results: For 42,320 eligible patients, the mean provider ordering rate was 2.6 % pre-initiative and 2.0 % post-initiative; there was no significant difference in trend over time. Over 70 % of the population had no characteristics associated with potentially appropriate DXA ordering. Low body mass index, current smoker status, and osteopenia were the most common characteristics indicating potentially appropriate DXA orders. Patients with any of these three characteristics had DXA ordering rates between 3-20 %.
Conclusions: The trend in provider ordering rates of DXA scans did not decrease after the release of the DXA Choosing Wisely recommendation. Targeted initiatives addressing providers with high ordering rates will be needed to change behavior.
Keywords: Bone density; Choosing Wisely; DXA; General medicine; Primary care.