Identifying opportunities to improve intimate partner violence screening in a primary care system
Background and Objectives: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a silent epidemic affecting one in three women. The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends routine IPV screening for women of childbearing age, but actual rates of screening in primary care settings are low. Our objectives were to determine how often IPV screening was being done in our system and whether screening initiated by medical assistants or physicians resulted in more screens.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review to investigate IPV screening practices in five primary care clinics within a university-based network in Northern California. We reviewed 100 charts from each clinic for a total of 500 charts. Each chart was reviewed to determine if an IPV screen was documented, and if so, whether it was done by the medical assistant or the physician.
Results: The overall frequency of IPV screening was 22% (111/500). We found a wide variation in screening practices among the clinics. Screening initiated by medical assistants resulted in significantly more documented screens than screening delivered by physicians (74% vs 9%, P<0.001).
Conclusions: IPV screening is an important, but underdelivered service. Using medical assistants to deliver IPV screening may be more effective than relying on physicians alone.
Sharples L, Nguyen C, Singh B, Lin S. Identifying opportunities to improve intimate partner violence screening in a primary care system. Fam Med. 2018;50(9):702-705. PMID: 30307590. DOI: 10.22454/FamMed.2018.311843.