Clinical Preventive Services in Guatemala: A Cross-Sectional Survey of Internal Medicine Physicians

  • J.E. C
  • L.D. A
  • E.E. A
  • et al.
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Background: Guatemala is currently undergoing an epidemiologic transition. Preventive services are key to reducing the burden of non-communicable diseases, and smoking counseling and cessation are among the most cost-effective and wide-reaching strategies. Internal medicine physicians are fundamental to providing such services, and their knowledge is a cornerstone of non-communicable disease control. Methods: A national cross-sectional survey was conducted in 2011 to evaluate knowledge of clinical preventive services for non-communicable diseases. Interns, residents, and attending physicians of the internal medicine departments of all teaching hospitals in Guatemala completed a self-administered questionnaire. Participants' responses were contrasted with the Guatemalan Ministry of Health (MoH) prevention guidelines and the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations. Analysis compared knowledge of recommendations within and between hospitals. Results: In response to simulated patient scenarios, all services were recommended by more than half of physicians regardless of MoH or USPSTF recommendations. Prioritization was adequate according to the MoH guidelines but not including other potentially effective services (e.g. colorectal cancer and lipid disorder screenings). With the exception of colorectal and prostate cancer screening, less frequently recommended by interns, there was no difference in recommendation rates by level. Conclusion: Guatemalan internal medicine physicians' knowledge on preventive services recommendations for non-communicable diseases is limited, and prioritization did not reflect cost-effectiveness. Based on these data we recommend that preventive medicine training be strengthened and development of evidence-based guidelines for low-middle income countries be a priority. © 2012 Corral et al.




J.E., C., L.D., A., E.E., A., A., G., & J., B. (2012). Clinical Preventive Services in Guatemala: A Cross-Sectional Survey of Internal Medicine Physicians. PLoS ONE. J. Barnoya, Research Department, Cardiovascular Unit of Guatemala, Guatemala City, Guatemala. E-mail: Public Library of Science (185 Berry Street, Suite 1300, San Francisco CA 94107, United States). Retrieved from

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