Increased Patient Concern After False-positive Mammograms
Clinician Documentation and Subsequent Ambulatory Visits
Article first published online: 9 JUN 2004
Journal of General Internal Medicine
Volume 16, Issue 3, pages 150–156, March 2001
How to Cite
Barton, M. B., Moore, S., Polk, S., Shtatland, E., Elmore, J. G. and Fletcher, S. W. (2001), Increased Patient Concern After False-positive Mammograms. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 16: 150–156. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1497.2001.00329.x
- Issue published online: 9 JUN 2004
- Article first published online: 9 JUN 2004
- false positive;
- health care utilization
OBJECTIVE: To measure how often a breast-related concern was documented in medical records after screening mammography according to the mammogram result (normal, or true-negative vs false-positive) and to measure changes in health care utilization in the year after the mammogram.
DESIGN: Cohort study.
SETTING: Large health maintenance organization in New England.
PATIENTS: Group of 496 women with false-positive screening mammograms and a comparison group of 496 women with normal screening mammograms, matched for location and year of mammogram.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: 1) Documentation in clinicians' notes of patient concern about the breast and 2) ambulatory health care utilization, both breast-related and non–breast-related, in the year after the mammogram. Fifty (10%) of 496 women with false-positive mammograms had documentation of breast-related concern during the 12 months after the mammogram, compared to 1 (0.2%) woman with a normal mammogram (P = .001). Documented concern increased with the intensity of recommended follow-up (P = .009). Subsequent ambulatory visits, not related to the screening mammogram, increased in the year after the mammogram among women with false-positive mammograms, both in terms of breast-related visits (incidence ratio, 3.07; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.69 to 5.93) and non-breast-related visits (incidence ratio, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.03 to 1.25).
CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians document concern about breast cancer in 10% of women who have false-positive mammograms, and subsequent use of health care services are increased among women with false-positive mammogram results.