Objective The goal of this pilot study was to evaluate adherence to the 2012 cervical cancer screening guidelines among health care providers in a large health maintenance organization.
Study Design A cross-sectional survey evaluating knowledge, reported practices, and views of the 2012 cervical cancer screening guidelines was distributed to 325 health care providers within HealthPartners. The survey was divided into 3 sections: (1) provider demographics; (2) knowledge of the 2012 age-specific cancer screening guidelines; and (3) provider practice. Comparisons based on appropriate knowledge and practice of the guidelines were made using Fisher exact tests.
Results The response rate was 42%. Of 124 respondents, 15 (12.1%) reported they were not aware of the 2012 guideline changes. Only 7 (5.7%) respondents answered all the knowledge questions correctly. A majority of respondents reported correct screening practices in the 21-29 year patient age group (65.8%) and in the >65 year patient age group (74.3%). Correct screening intervals in the 30-65 year patient age group varied by modality, with 89.3% correctly screening every 3 years with Pap smear alone, but only 57.4% correctly screening every 5 years with Pap smear + human papillomavirus cotesting. The most frequently cited reasons for not adhering were lack of knowledge of the guidelines and patient demand for a different screening interval.
Conclusion Adherence to the 2012 cervical cancer screening guidelines is poor due, in part, to a lack of knowledge of the guidelines. Efforts should focus on improved provider and patient education, and methods that facilitate adherence to the guidelines such as electronic health record order sets.
- cervical cancer screening
- guideline adherence
- provider survey