A Cohort Analysis of Statin Treatment Patterns Among Small-Sized Primary Care Practices

Jingzhi Yu*, Ann A. Wang, Lindsay P. Zimmerman, Yu Deng, Thanh Huyen T. Vu, Yacob G. Tedla, Nicholas D. Soulakis, Faraz S. Ahmad, Abel N. Kho

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Small-sized primary care practices, defined as practices with fewer than 10 clinicians, delivered the majority of outpatient visits in the USA. Statin therapy in high-risk individuals reduces atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) events, but prescribing patterns in small primary care practices are not well known. This study describes statin treatment patterns in small-sized primary care practices and examines patient- and practice-level factors associated with lack of statin treatment. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort analysis of statin-eligible patients from practices that participated in Healthy Hearts in the Heartland (H3), a quality improvement initiative aimed at improving cardiovascular care measures in small primary care practices. All statin-eligible adults who received care in one of 53 H3 practices from 2013 to 2016. Statin-eligible adults include those aged at least 21 with (1) clinical ASCVD, (2) low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) ≥ 190 mg/dL, or (3) diabetes aged 40–75 and with LDL-C 70–189 mg/dL. Eligible patients with no record of moderate- to high-intensity statin prescription are defined by ACC/AHA guidelines. Results: Among the 13,330 statin-eligible adults, the mean age was 58 years and 52% were women. Overall, there was no record of moderate- to high-intensity statin prescription among 5,780 (43%) patients. Younger age, female sex, and lower LDL-C were independently associated with a lack of appropriate intensity statin therapy. Higher proportions of patients insured by Medicaid and having only family medicine trained physicians (versus having at least one internal medicine trained physician) at the practice were also associated with lower appropriate intensity statin use. Lack of appropriate intensity statin therapy was higher in independent practices than in Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) (50% vs. 40%, p value < 0.01). Conclusions: There is an opportunity for improved ASCVD risk reduction in small primary care practices. Statin treatment patterns and factors influencing lack of treatment vary by practice setting, highlighting the importance of tailored approaches to each setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1845-1852
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jun 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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