Can you use a sequential sample of patients as a substitute for a full practice audit?: Study of mammography screening rates in 20 family practices in Ontario.
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OBJECTIVE: To compare rates of mammography screening among women in family practices, based on a sequential sample of eligible women presenting to the practices during an 8-week period, with rates found in a full audit of all eligible patients. DESIGN: Chart review. SETTING: Twenty community-based family practices in south-central Ontario. PARTICIPANTS: Family physicians and their female patients 52 to 71 years old who had had at least 1 visit to the office during the past 3 years. INTERVENTION: Eligible patients were sampled by 2 approaches: sequential sampling of patients coming for appointments during an 8-week period and a full practice audit of all eligible women. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Mammography rates found using the 2 approaches. RESULTS: The mean time-appropriate rate of mammography screening based on the sequential sample was 66.4%. The mean time-appropriate rate of mammography screening for the full practice audit was 58.8%. The sequential sample rate was higher than that of the full audit by 7.6%; differences ranged from -6.5% to 24.9% among practices. Regression analysis indicated a positive and significant correlation between rates based on the data generated by the 2 different approaches (r2 = 0.50). CONCLUSION: A rate of mammography screening based on a sequential sample can reasonably approximate the actual rate of mammography screening that would be found based on a full practice audit.
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