Implementation of international guidelines for polycystic ovary syndrome: barriers and facilitators among gynecologists and primary care providers

Iris Tien Lynn Lee*, Stephanie Sansone, Maryam Irfan, Tessa Copp, Rinad Beidas, Anuja Dokras

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To identify barriers and facilitators to the implementation of evidence-based guidelines among gynecologists and primary care physicians (PCPs) caring for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Design: Qualitative semi-structured interview study. Setting: Academic medical center. Patients: None. Interventions: None. Main Outcome Measures: Barriers and facilitators in the diagnosis and management of PCOS. Results: We interviewed 10 gynecologists and 8 PCPs to reach thematic saturation using a thematic analysis approach. Four themes were identified: diagnostic considerations, treatment of symptoms of PCOS, screening for long-term complications of PCOS, and counseling on long-term complications. Many gynecologists did not perform the recommended metabolic screening and were uncomfortable managing metabolic complications of PCOS. They uniformly counseled patients on the risk of endometrial hyperplasia and infertility. PCPs expressed the lack of familiarity with diagnostic criteria and often did not complete a comprehensive workup before making a diagnosis of PCOS. However, they routinely counseled patients on cardiometabolic risk and were familiar with managing the related long-term complications. Common barriers to comprehensive care delivery included the lack of knowledge and inadequate time and resources. Important facilitators included the overlap between the management of PCOS and other conditions such as obesity and abnormal uterine bleeding. Conclusions: Our study highlights the need for interventions that target the barriers identified among gynecologists and PCPs in implementing guidelines for diagnosing and managing PCOS. In conjunction with prior studies, our findings support a multidisciplinary care model for women with PCOS. Future studies should focus on implementation strategies to facilitate evidence-based care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-101
Number of pages8
JournalF and S Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Implementation science
  • long-term counseling
  • polycystic ovary syndrome
  • primary care provider

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Embryology
  • Reproductive Medicine


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