Association between frequency of primary care provider visits and evidence-based statin prescribing and statin adherence: Findings from the veterans affairs system

Document Type



Medicine; Cardiology; Office of the Provost


Background: Statin use remains suboptimal in patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). We assessed if the frequency of visits with primary care providers (PCPs) is associated with higher use of evidence-based statin prescriptions and adherence among patients with ASCVD.
Methods: We identified patients with ASCVD aged ≥18 years receiving care in 130 facilities and associated community-based outpatient clinics in the entire Veterans Affairs Health Care System between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014. Patients were divided into frequent PCP visitors (annual PCP visits ≥ median number of PCP visits for the entire cohort) and infrequent PCP visitors (annual PCP visits < median number of patient visits). We assessed any- and high-intensity statin prescription as well as statin adherence which was defined by proportion of days covered (PDC).
Results: We included 1,249,061 patients with ASCVD (mean age was 71.9 years; 98.0% male). Median number of annual PCP visits was 3. Approximately 80.1% patients were on statins with 23.8% on high-intensity statins. Mean PDC was 0.715 ± 0.336 with 58.3% patients with PDC ≥0.8. Frequent PCP visitors had higher frequency of statin use (82.2% vs 77.4%), high-intensity statin use (26.4% vs 20.3%), and statin adherence (mean PDC 0.73 vs 0.68; P < .01) compared to infrequent PCP visitors. After adjusting for covariates, frequent PCP visits was associated with greater odds of being on any statin, high intensity statin, and higher statin adherence.
Conclusion: Frequent visits with PCPs is associated with a higher likelihood of any statin use, high intensity statin use, and statin adherence. Further research endeavors are needed to understand the reasons behind these associations.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

American Heart Journal