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Association Between Number of Preventive Care Guidelines and Preventive Care Utilization by Patients

      Introduction

      The number of preventive care guidelines is rapidly increasing. It is unknown whether the number of guideline-recommended preventive services is associated with utilization.

      Methods

      The authors used Poisson regression of 390,778 person-years of electronic medical records data from 2008 to 2015, in 80,773 individuals aged 50–75 years. Analyses considered eligibility for 11 preventive services most closely associated with guidelines: tobacco cessation; control of obesity, hypertension, lipids, or blood glucose; influenza vaccination; and screening for breast, cervical, or colorectal cancers, abdominal aortic aneurysm, or osteoporosis. The outcome was the rate of preventive care utilization over the following year. Results were adjusted for demographics and stratified by the number of disease risk factors (smoking, obesity, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes). Data were collected in 2016 and analyzed in 2017.

      Results

      Preventive care utilization was lower when the number of guideline-recommended preventive services was higher. The adjusted rate of preventive care utilization decreased from 38.67 per 100 (95% CI=38.16, 39.18) in patients eligible for one guideline-recommended service to 31.59 per 100 (95% CI=31.29, 31.89) in patients eligible for two services and 25.43 per 100 (95% CI=24.68, 26.18) in patients eligible for six or more services (p-trend<0.001). Results were robust to disease risk factors and observed for all but two services (tobacco cessation, obesity reduction). However, for any given number of guideline-recommended services, patients with more disease risk factors had higher utilization rates.

      Conclusions

      The rate of preventive care utilization was lower when the number of guideline-recommended services was higher. Prioritizing recommendations might improve utilization of high-value services.
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