Mammography and Decision Aid Use for Breast Cancer Screening in Older Women

June 16, 2022

Introduction: Decision aids for breast cancer screening are increasingly being used by physicians, but the association between physician practice decision-aid use and mammography rates remains uncertain. Using national data, this study examines the association between practice-level decisionaid use and mammography use among older women.

Methods: Physician practice responses to the 2017/2018 National Survey of Healthcare Organizations and Systems (n=1,236) were linked to 2016 and 2017 Medicare fee-for-service beneficiary data from eligible beneficiaries (n=439,684) aged 65−74 years. In 2021, multivariable generalized linear models estimated the association of practice decision-aid use for breast cancer screening and advanced health information technology functions with mammography use, controlling for practice and beneficiary characteristics.

Results: Overall, 60.1% of eligible beneficiaries had a screening mammogram, and 37.3% of physician practices routinely used decision aids for breast cancer screening. In adjusted analyses, advanced health information technology functions (OR=1.19, p=0.04) were associated with mammography use, but practice use of decision aids was not (OR=0.95, p=0.21). Beneficiary clinical and socioeconomic characteristics, including race, comorbidities, Medicare and Medicaid eligibility, and median household income were more strongly associated with mammography use than practicelevel decision-aid use or advanced health information technology functions.

Conclusions: Health information technology‒enabled automation of mammography reminders and other advanced health information technology functions may support mammography, whereas breast cancer decision aids may reduce patients’ propensities to be screened through the alignment of their preferences and screening decision. More resources may be needed for decision aids to be routinely implemented to improve solicitation of patient preferences and targeting of mammography services.