0
ARTICLE |

Differences in Clinical Decision Making Between Internists and Cardiologists

Peter A. Glassman, MBBS, MSc; Richard L. Kravitz, MD, MSPH; Laura P. Petersen, MS; John E. Rolph, PhD
Arch Intern Med. 1997;157(5):506-512. doi:10.1001/archinte.1997.00440260044008.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Background:  Whether cardiologists or internists use discretionary tests differently for noncritical cardiological presentations is unclear.

Objective:  To explore differences in decision making for 3 common scenarios.

Methods:  We asked 318 cardiologists and 598 internists to manage scenario patients presenting with (1) uncomplicated syncope, (2) nonanginal chest pain, and (3) nonspecific electrocardiographic changes. Participants also estimated baseline clinical risk for each scenario and answered questions on uncertainty, malpractice concerns, and cost consciousness. We used χ2 analysis, analysis of variance, and t tests to compare management choice and test ordering. Response rate was 50%.

Results:  Initial management choices (ie, admit or discharge, allow or delay surgery) were similar but subsequent testing differed substantially. For a 50-year-old woman with uncomplicated syncope, cardiologists more often recommended cardiological tests such as exercise treadmill tests (37% vs 18%, 95% confidence interval [CI] for difference: 10%-28%) and signal-averaged electro-cardiograms (13% vs 4%, 95% CI for difference: 3%-15%) but less often requested neurological tests (29% vs 37%, 95% CI for difference: —17% to 1%). For a 42-year-old man with nonanginal chest pain, cardiologists more frequently ordered exercise tests (70% vs 51%, 95% CI for difference: 10%-28%). For a 53-year-old woman with nonspecific electrocardiographic changes, equal proportions of cardiologists and internists ordered exercise tests (56%) but cardiologists recommended thallium studies more often (73% vs 47%, 95% CI for difference: 10%-36%). For all scenarios, average charges for diagnostic evaluations by cardiologists and internists were similar.

Conclusions:  In 3 noncritical cardiology scenarios, discretionary test use by cardiologists and internists differed substantially, although this was not reflected in dollar resources. Internists tended toward a broader diagnostic evaluation while cardiologists tended to focus on cardiological tests. The potential effect on clinical outcomes is unknown.Arch Intern Med. 1997;157:506-512

Topics

Sign In to Access Full Content

Don't have Access?

Register and get free email Table of Contents alerts, saved searches, PowerPoint downloads, CME quizzes, and more

Subscribe for full-text access to content from 1998 forward and a host of useful features

Activate your current subscription (AMA members and current subscribers)

Purchase Online Access to this article for 24 hours

Figures

Tables

References

Correspondence

CME
Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
NOTE:
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).
Submit a Comment

Multimedia

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Web of Science® Times Cited: 20

Sign In to Access Full Content

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Jobs
brightcove.createExperiences();