To determine physician characteristics associated with the use of bone densitometry (BD), we conducted a cross-sectional survey of primary care practitioners in an urban community hospital. Participants were internists, geriatricians, and family practitioners. Seventy-two percent of the physicians never used BD. There was no association between physician or practice characteristics and BD use. Bone densitometry users were more likely than nonusers to treat their patients with osteoporosis or at risk of developing it. Self-reported barriers to use included cost, unfamiliarity with guidelines, uncertainty with clinical applicability, minimal impact on treatment decisions, and availability. In conclusion, although it has been shown that osteoporotic women who are aware of their BD results are more likely to accept treatment, further attention should be paid to primary care practitioners' attitudes, knowledge, and behavior regarding the use of BD in the management of osteoporosis.
Keywords: bone densitometry, osteoporosis, physician knowledge, attitudes, behaviors