BMC health services research 2017 08 1117(1) 553 doi 10.1186/s12913-017-2510-y
Despite efforts by professional societies to reduce low value care, many reports indicate that unnecessary tests, such as nuclear myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI), are commonly used in contemporary practice. The degree to which lack of awareness and professional liability concerns drive these behaviors warrants further study. We sought to investigate patient and provider perceptions about MPI in asymptomatic patients, the Choosing Wisely (CW) campaign, and professional liability concerns.
We administered an anonymous, paper-based survey with both discrete and open-response queries to subjects in multiple outpatient settings at our facilities. The survey was completed by 456 respondents including 342 patients and 114 physicians and advanced practice providers between May and August 2014. Our outcome was to compare patient and provider perceptions about MPI in asymptomatic patients and related factors.
Patients were more likely than providers to report that MPI was justified for asymptomatic patients (e.g. asymptomatic with family history of heart disease 75% versus 9.2%, p < 0.0001). In free responses to the question "What would be an inappropriate reason for MPI?" many responses echoed the goals of CW (for example, "If you don't have symptoms", "If the test is too risky", "For screening or in asymptomatic patients"). A minority of providers were aware of CW while even fewer patients were aware (37.2% versus 2.7%, p < 0.0001). Over one third of providers (38.9%) admitted to ordering MPI out of concern for professional liability including 48.3% of VA affiliated providers. CONCLUSIONS
While some patients and providers are aware of the low value of MPI in patients without symptoms, others are enthusiastic to use it for a variety of scenarios. Concerns about professional liability likely contribute, even in the VA setting. Awareness of the Choosing Wisely campaign is low in both groups.