BACKGROUND: We wanted to determine whether variations exist in use of a chaperone during the performance of a pelvic examination by family physicians. METHODS: A self-administered questionnaire was mailed to 5,000 randomly selected active members of the American Academy of Family Physicians. RESULTS: There were 3,551 survey responses (71% response rate) and 2,748 useable questionnaires. Most respondents (75.4%) reported routinely using a chaperone in the room during the collection of a Papanicolaou (Pap) smear. Significantly (P < .00001) more male physicians (84.1%) than female physicians (31.4%) reported using a chaperone. Physicians reporting routine use of a chaperone were significantly younger (P = .01) and did fewer Pap smears per month (P < .00001). Regional reporting of chaperone use varied significantly (P < .00001), with 71.6% reporting use in the Northeast, 89.0% in the South, 65.7% in the Midwest, and 72.4% in the West. CONCLUSION: Family physicians vary considerably in the reported use of a chaperone during the collection of a Pap smear. The variation could reflect different regional or local norms, efficiency or resource issues in high-volume clinical settings, or other interpersonal factors. These issues need to be explored in more depth.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Family Practice