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Do Personal and Practice Characteristics have a Bearing
on Physicians' Tendencies to Diagnose Migraine?
TR Smith; American Headache Society, June 2000
Posted January 2001
American Headache Society, June 2000

Objective:   The objective of this study was to examine the tendencies of primary care physicians to diagnose migraine and to evaluate their personal characteristics and practice features for elements which may influence the likelihood of making migraine diagnoses.

Results: 53 of 86 primary care physicians surveyed responded. There were 10 physicians in the high diagnosis frequency index (DFI) group, 6 in the medium, 22 in the low, and 15 in the very low group. In the high DFI group, the physicians were more likely to be female, more likely to have a spouse or first-degree family member with migraine, and tended to see significantly fewer office visits per month. The very low DFI group was more likely to be male, to have older patient populations, and to have busier practices. Interestingly, there was very little difference among the groups with respect to recent headache related CME activity, level of interest in migraine and women’s health issues, and active migraine screening in their practices.

Conclusion: This study would suggest that the tendency to diagnose migraine in primary care practice may be influenced more by the physician’s personal characteristics and practice demographics than the practitioner’s level of interest in headache, participation in recent CME activities or the use of office screening programs.