Identifying providers of care to individuals with Human Immunodeficiency Virus for a mail survey using a prescription tracking database
Tomography, X-Ray Computed
Unlike cancer and other illnesses for which specialists provide the majority of care for affected individuals, care of those infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is provided by generalists and many different types of specialists. To assess the utility of a prescription tracking database in identifying low experience and high-experience providers of such care regardless of specialty, we mailed a survey to 1500 physicians identified as having written prescriptions for agents used in care of HIV-infected individuals in the year before the survey. We discovered that physicians who care for patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in the United States come from a broad range of specialties and practice in a variety of settings. Self-report of experience with AIDS care in the prior year was strongly associated with the number of HIV-related prescriptions identified in the tracking information. Response rates were consistent with those of other surveys published in medical journals. This study suggests that prescription tracking databases can be used to identify the breadth of physician/subjects who provide care for patients with HIV infection.