Journal of Behavioral Health and Psychology. 2019; 8(2):(259-318)


Awareness of the atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk estimator among primary care physicians in a Medicare advantage plan

Scarlett Sossamon, Tara Esse, Omar Serna, Aisha Vadhariya, Sanika Rege, Marc Fleming, Susan Abughosh, Jeannie Choi

Abstract

Background: The American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/ AHA) atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk estimator, an online calculator tool for primary prevention, can aid providers in assessing the 10 year and lifetime risks for ASCVD. Primary care physician (PCP) awareness of the ACC/AHA ASCVD Risk Estimator has not been adequately examined. Objective: To assess PCP awareness of the ACC/AHA ASCVD Risk Estimator. Methods: A survey was administered to PCPs during the health plan provider network meetings in July 2016. The survey included questions regarding PCP awareness of the ACC/AHA ASCVD Risk Estimator as well as location and predominant socioeconomic status of the patient population. Demographic and practice variables, such as gender, race, ethnicity, age, years in practice, and specialty, were collected. Risk Estimator awareness was determined overall, and group differences by PCP and practice characteristics were examined using chi-square tests for categorical variables, and t-tests for continuous variables. Results: A total of 214 out of 215 physicians from the health plan’s Southwest and Southeast Texas regions completed the survey. Among those surveyed, 57% indicated awareness of the ASCVD Risk Estimator. PCP awareness was significantly associated with the patients’ socioeconomic status, where physicians treating mostly the indigent patient population were more aware of the Risk Estimator compared to those treating mostly middle- and upper-class populations. Conclusions: Over 40% of those surveyed were unaware of the ASCVD Risk Estimator, indicating a need for education among PCPs as it pertains to improving patient care in high-risk CVD patients.

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