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Evaluation and treatment of urinary incontinence. Report of a physician survey.

OBJECTIVE: To determine practice patterns related to the evaluation and treatment of urinary incontinence (UI).

DESIGN: Stratified random sample of physicians surveyed initially by mail with telephone follow-up.

SETTING: Four counties in Central Oklahoma.

PARTICIPANTS: One hundred fifty-five physicians in 4 specialties: family practice, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, and urology.

MEASUREMENTS: Self-reported evaluation and treatment of UI and training in treatment of UI. The overall rate of response was 80%.

RESULTS: Physicians miss opportunities to identify patients with UI. Despite substantial specialty variation, behavioral treatments and medications for UI, relative to the Agency for Health Care and Policy Research clinical guidelines, are underused. More than 40% of internists and family practitioners routinely recommended absorbent pads. Only 17% of physicians were aware of the clinical guidelines.

CONCLUSIONS: Physicians identified deficiencies in their level of preparation to evaluate and treat UI. Reports of practice patterns also suggest deficiencies.

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