Health Services Research & Development

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Cordasco KM, Yuan AH, Danz MJ, Jackson L, Yee EF, Tcheung LS, Washington DL. Veterans Health Administration Primary Care Provider Adherence to Prescribing Guidelines for Systemic Hormone Therapy in Menopausal Women. Journal for healthcare quality : official publication of the National Association for Healthcare Quality. 2019 Mar 1; 41(2):99-109.
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Abstract: BACKGROUND: Systemic hormone therapy (HT) is effective for treating menopausal symptoms but also confers risks. Therefore, experts have developed clinical guidelines for its use. PURPOSE: We assessed primary care guideline adherence in prescribing systemic HT, and associations between adherence and provider characteristics, in four Veterans Health Administration (VA) facilities. METHODS: We abstracted medical records associated with new and renewal systemic HT prescriptions examining adherence to guidelines for documenting indications and contraindications; prescribing appropriate dosages; and prescribing progesterone. RESULTS: Average guideline adherence was 58%. Among new prescriptions, 74% documented a guideline-adherent indication and 28% documented absence of contraindications. Among renewals, 39% documented a guideline-adherent indication. In prescribing an appropriate dose, 45% of new prescriptions were guideline-adherent. Among renewal prescriptions with conjugated equine estrogen doses 0.625 mg or equivalent, 16% documented the dosing rationale. Among 116 prescriptions for systemic estrogen in women with a uterus, progesterone was not prescribed in 8. CONCLUSIONS: Guideline adherence in prescribing systemic HT was low among VA primary care providers. Failures to coprescribe progesterone put women at increased risk for endometrial cancer. IMPLICATIONS: Intervention development is urgently needed to improve guideline adherence among primary care prescribers of systemic HT for menopause. Similar assessments should be conducted in community settings.