Objective: Multidisciplinary vascular centers (VCs) have been proposed to integrate vascular patient care. No studies, however, have assessed referring physician interest or which services should be provided. A statewide survey of primary care physicians (PCPs) was performed to answer these questions. Methods: Questionnaires were mailed to 3711 PCPs, asking about familiarity with vascular disease, potential VC usage, and services VCs should provide. Univariate and multivariate analysis was used to determine which PCPs would refer patients, the services desired, and which patients would be referred. Results: Of 1006 PCPs who responded, 66% would refer patients to a VC, especially patients younger than 50 years (P < .001) and those with lower extremity disease (P < .001) or abdominal aortic aneurysm (P < .001). PCPs practicing within 50 miles of a VC (P < .001), those in practice less than 5 years (P < .001), and those without specific training in vascular disease during residency (P = .004) were most likely to refer patients. Vascular surgery (97%), interventional radiology (90%), and a noninvasive vascular laboratory (82%) were considered the most important services, and physician educational services (62%) were also desirable. PCPs did not think cardiology, cardiac surgery, smoking cessation programs, or diabetes or lipid management are needed. Reasons for VC nonuse included travel distance (23%), sufficient local services (21%), and insurance issues (12%). Only 16% of PCPs believe that their patients with vascular disease currently receive optimal care. Conclusion: There is considerable interest in VCs among PCPs. In contrast to recently described models, VCs need not incorporate cardiology, cardiac surgery, smoking cessation programs, or diabetes or lipid management. VCs should include vascular surgery, interventional radiology, a noninvasive vascular laboratory, and physician educational services.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine