Factors related to the use of bone densitometry: survey responses of 494 primary care physicians in New England.

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Large population-based surveys have shown that approximately 30% of people over age 65 years have osteoporosis and that 17% of the population over 65 years will sustain a fracture during their lifetime. Many people with osteoporosis are never being evaluated even though effective treatments are available. We examined why primary care physicians order few bone mineral density scans. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of primary care physicians practicing in any of the six New England states. Target physician specialties included internal medicine, general practitioners/family physicians, and obstetrician-gynecologists who had a facsimile number listed with the American Medical Association. Demographics, practice characteristics, use of bone densitometry, and attitudes regarding osteoporosis, bone densitometry and health maintenance were assessed by questionnaire. Twelve percent ( n=494) of the physicians responded to the questionnaire. Respondents were similar to non-respondents with respect to years of practice, training and geographical state, though they were more likely to be female ( p

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