Study objectives: To determine whether physician experience and specialty influence the approach to care of AIDS patients with pneumonia, we surveyed physicians about their management of possible Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) infection. Design, setting, participants: A postal survey was sent to a random sample of 1,500 internists and family physicians in the United States drawn from the American Medical Association master file who were identified by a pharmaceutical marketing company as having written prescriptions for AIDS-related agents in the previous year. Measurements and results: The survey had a 53% response rate. Physicians more experienced in AIDS care were more likely to advocate diagnostic bronchoscopy over initiation of empiric anti-PCP therapy for HIV-infected patients with undiagnosed pulmonary infiltrates (odds ratio [OR], 1.4 for a patient with mild severity of illness [p = 0.02]; OR, 1.7 for a severely ill patient [p < 0.001]). Physician specialty and fee-for-service reimbursement were independently associated with higher rates of bronchoscopy, with internists favoring bronchoscopy more frequently than family physicians. High- experience providers and internists also predicted better clinical outcomes for the hypothetical patients. Conclusions: Our findings extend the observations about HIV experience and PCP prophylaxis to the setting of diagnosis and treatment. Physicians with higher levels of experience with AIDS, internists, and physicians reimbursed as fee-for-service providers are more likely to support diagnostic confirmation of PCP than empiric treatment approaches.
- Outcome and process assessment
- Physician practice patterns
- Postal survey
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine