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November 1989

Physician Reaction to a Local Community Cholesterol Screening Program

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Preventive Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (Drs Buchta and Greaves); and the City of Racine (Wis) Health Department (Messrs Wissell and Bagley). Dr Buchta is now with the 15th Medical Group, Hickam Air Force Base, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Arch Intern Med. 1989;149(11):2479-2481. doi:10.1001/archinte.1989.00390110065014

• One of the primary concerns of the National Cholesterol Education Program about mass screening for elevated blood cholesterol has been the readiness of primary care physicians to deal with a large number of referrals. After 11 680 people were screened in a city of 85 000 people, 3069 (26.3%) were referred to their private physicians. Three months later a questionnaire was mailed to 76 local primary care physicians, and a follow-up letter was mailed to those who had not responded after 2 months. The response rate was 76% from a total of seven specialties, primarily internal medicine and family medicine. Seventy-nine percent of the physicians had been aware of the program, 40% diagnosed at least one case of hypercholesterolemia as a result of the program, and 71% approved of community cholesterol screening. Only one physician indicated that he was overwhelmed with referrals. We conclude that most primary-care physicians support community cholesterol screening as a public health measure and will use screening data to initiate diagnosis.

(Arch Intern Med. 1989;149:2479-2481)