Do physicians within the same practice setting manage osteoporosis patients similarly? Implications for implementation research

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Osteoporosis; Physician's Practice Patterns


Bioinformatics | Biostatistics | Epidemiology | Health Services Research


Using data from long-term glucocorticoid users and long-term care residents, we evaluated osteoporosis prescribing patterns related to physician behavior and common practice settings. We found no significant clustering effect for common practice setting, suggesting that osteoporosis quality improvement (QI) efforts may be able to ignore this factor in designing QI interventions. INTRODUCTION: Patients' receipt of prescription therapies are significantly influenced by their physician's prescribing patterns. If physicians in the same practice setting influence one another's prescribing, evidence implementation interventions must consider targeting the practice as well as individual physicians to achieve maximal success. METHODS: We examined receipt of osteoporosis treatment (OP Rx) from two prior evidence implementation studies: long-term glucocorticoid (GC) users and nursing home (NH) residents with prior fracture or osteoporosis. Common practice setting was defined as doctors practicing at the same address or in the same nursing home. Alternating logistic regression evaluated the relationship between OP Rx, common practice setting, and individual physician treatment patterns. RESULTS: Among 6,281 GC users in 1,296 practices, the proportion receiving OP Rx in each practice was 6-100%. Among 779 NH residents in 66 nursing homes, the proportion in each NH receiving OP Rx was 0-100%. In both, there was no significant relationship between receipt of OP Rx and common practice setting after accounting for treatment pattern of individual physicians. CONCLUSION: Physicians practicing together were not more alike in prescribing osteoporosis medications than those in different practices. Osteoporosis quality improvement may be able to ignore common practice settings and maximize statistical power by targeting individual physicians.

DOI of Published Version



Osteoporos Int. 2009 Nov;20(11):1921-7. Epub 2009 Mar 25. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Osteoporosis international : a journal established as result of cooperation between the European Foundation for Osteoporosis and the National Osteoporosis Foundation of the USA

PubMed ID


Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed