Contraceptive counseling by general internal medicine faculty and residents.
BACKGROUND: Almost half of US pregnancies are unintended, resulting in many abortions and unwanted or mistimed births. Contraceptive counseling is an effective tool to increase patients' use of contraception. METHODS: Using an online 20-item questionnaire, we evaluated the frequency of contraceptive counseling provided to reproductive-age women during a prevention-focused visit by University of Colorado internal medicine resident and faculty providers. We also evaluated factors hypothesized to affect contraceptive counseling frequency. RESULTS: Although more than 95% of the 146 medicine faculty and resident respondents agreed that contraceptive counseling is important, only one-quarter of providers reported providing contraceptive counseling "routinely" (defined as >/=80% of the time) to reproductive-age women during a prevention-focused visit. Providing contraceptive counseling routinely was strongly associated with taking an abbreviated sexual history "often"/"routinely" (odds ratio [OR]=11.6 [3.3 to 40.0]) and with high self-efficacy to provide contraceptive counseling (OR=6.5 [1.5 to 29.0]). However, fewer than two-thirds of providers reported taking an abbreviated sexual history "often"/"routinely." More than 70% of providers reported inadequate knowledge of contraceptive methods as a contraceptive counseling barrier. However, providers' perceived inadequate knowledge was not associated with traditional educational exposures, such as lectures and women's health electives. CONCLUSIONS: In prevention-focused visits with reproductive-age women, a minority of internal medicine faculty and residents reported routine contraceptive counseling. Future efforts to increase contraceptive counseling among internists should include interventions that increase provider contraceptive counseling self-efficacy and ensure that providers obtain an abbreviated sexual history.