HSR&D Home » Research » CDA 13-265 – HSR&D Study
Optimizing Testosterone Prescribing in the VA
Guneet K. Jasuja PhD
VA Bedford HealthCare System, Bedford, MA
Funding Period: March 2016 - February 2021
The use of testosterone therapy increased 3-fold during the 10 year-period between 2001 and 2011in the United States. Use of this therapy in VA has been doubling every 5 years, suggesting that factors other than clinical need may be contributing to its use. There has been concern about the growing off-label use of testosterone, which has been approved for the treatment of male hypogonadism. The rapid increase in testosterone use is of immediate concern because of safety issues - particularly cardiovascular and prostate health - associated with this therapy. Understanding the context within which testosterone is prescribed in the VA, including which patients receive testosterone, which providers prescribe it, and which site-level structures and policies are associated with more or less use of testosterone may contribute to interventions to improve prescribing practices.
This CDA will first identify quantitative and qualitative patient-, provider-, and site-level correlates of sub-optimal testosterone use, and then use this information to inform the design of an intervention to improve testosterone prescribing in the VA.
Aim 1: Identify quantitative patient-, provider-, and site-level predictors of potentially inappropriate testosterone prescribing, apart from hypogonadism.
Aim 2: Examine patient, provider, and key opinion leader perceptions and system-level factors that relate to testosterone prescribing, using qualitative methods.
Aim 3: Develop and pilot test an intervention to modify current testosterone prescribing patterns and optimize appropriate use of testosterone in VA.
To accomplish these aims, we will use mixed methods, including secondary database analyses, semi-structured interviews, and intervention development and testing. Aim 1 will be conducted using administrative data on all male Veteran patients without HIV, who had at least one outpatient visit and one prescription fill during FY08-FY14. We will apply Generalized Linear Mixed Models to examine our putative predictors at the patient- (e.g. depression), provider- (e.g. older age) and site-level (e.g. academic affiliation). For Aim 2, we will conduct semi-structured interviews with patients, providers, and site-level thought leaders to gain additional insight into how their perceptions, as well as site factors, may influence testosterone prescribing. To effect meaningful change in prescribing, the results of the first two research aims will be combined with relevant findings in the literature to develop and pilot test a multi-faceted intervention (Aim 3) to promote appropriate use of testosterone in the VA.
Not yet available.
The research proposed here will improve quality of care by limiting testosterone therapy to those patients most likely to benefit and least likely to be harmed. Investigating the context of testosterone prescribing and factors that contribute to suboptimal prescribing practices would be an important preparatory step before designing and implementing interventions to optimize testosterone therapy for those men in whom it is medically indicated. Lessons learnt from this study will also serve as an exemplar for other medications, which embody similar characteristics, including high cost and potential safety issues.
DRA: Health Systems, Cardiovascular Disease
DRE: Technology Development and Assessment
Keywords: Best Practices
MeSH Terms: none