Cervicitis: To Treat or Not To Treat? The Role of Patient Preferences and Decision Analysis

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado, United States
Journal of Adolescent Health (Impact Factor: 3.61). 01/2007; 39(6):887-92. DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2006.06.005
Source: PubMed


Mucopurulent cervicitis is neither a sensitive nor a specific indicator of antibiotic sensitive infection. This analysis examines the positive and negative ramifications of treating cervicitis empirically as a Chlamydial (CT) infection. It begins where prior analyses leave off, with the number of cases of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) prevented.
Three treatments were compared: 1) treat empirically/refer partner; 2) test, treat, and base partner treatment on results; 3) test, base treatment on results. The outcomes were the physical sequelae of PID and the psychological sequelae of being diagnosed with CT in a hypothetical cohort of 500 teenagers with cervicitis, among whom the prevalence of CT averaged 33%, but ranged between 10% and 70%.
At a CT prevalence of 33%, Treatments 1 and 2 prevented three times as many cases of PID-related physical sequelae (n = 14) as Treatment 3 (n = 5). However, to prevent these 14 cases of physical sequelae, with Treatment 1, 163 teens needlessly suffer the psychological sequelae of a false CT diagnosis and with Treatment 2, 101 do so. The ratio of physical sequelae prevented to psychological sequelae caused, changed in relationship to the prevalence of CT, but was always numerically most favorable with Treatment 3. Moreover, it was the only therapeutic approach for which overall morbidity never exceeded the PID-related physical morbidity incurred in the absence of treatment.
By including the effects of over diagnosing and treating CT, we have demonstrated how the risks and benefits of empiric and nonempiric cervicitis therapy vary in relationship to CT prevalence. Failure to consider both the physical and the psychological aspects of patient well-being may mean that well-intentioned policies to reduce physical morbidity do not result in an overall improvement in health of teenagers.

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    ABSTRACT: Objective. The objective of this study is to estimate consumers' maximum willingness-to-pay (WTP) for follow-up PID services by physicians and community health nurses (CHNs), differences by consumer type (adolescents versus parents), and the differences in health-provider predicted WTP consumer estimates and actual consumer WTP estimates. Methods. In this IRB-approved study, a contingent valuation method was used to collect WTP data regarding co-payments to physicians or nurses for clinical service delivery from the consumers of adolescent PID services (parents and adolescents) and health providers using a national convenience sample. Consumers were recruited from an academic pediatric and adolescent medicine clinic and five health department school-based health clinics in a large urban community with high (sexually transmitted infection) STI prevalence. Participants completed a web-based survey. Data were analyzed using linear regression analyses. Results. Adolescents were willing to pay $36 more (95 % CI: $27.9-44.3) for community health nursing care and parents were willing to pay $48 more dollars (95 % CI: $40.3-$57.4) than physician's predicted. There were no significant differences in adolescent and parents WTP for physician or nursing services Consumers (adolescents & parents) WTP for physician PID services were on average $18.50 higher than CHN PID services (p = 0.01). Using physician estimates for WTP as the reference group, adolescents were willing to pay $56 more (95 % CI: $48.6-$63.4) for physician care and parents were willing to pay $66 more (95 % CI: $59.0-$72.8) than physician's predicted. Conclusion. Adolescents and parents are willing to pay more for physician follow-up for PID, but they are open to CHN follow-up visits based on the mean WTP for CHN visits. Since WTP also reflects the value that individuals place on a service, our data demonstrate that providers consistently underestimate the value consumers place on clinical services for × adolescents with PID.
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