BACKGROUND: Physicians' professional networks are an important source of new medical information and have been shown to influence the adoption of new treatments, but it is unknown how physician networks impact the de-adoption of harmful practices. METHODS: We analyzed changes in physicians' use of dronedarone after the PALLAS trial (Palbociclib Collaborative Adjuvant Study; November 2011) showed that dronedarone increased the risk of death from cardiovascular events among patients with permanent atrial fibrillation. Deidentified administrative claims from the OptumLabs Data Warehouse were combined with physicians' demographic information from the Doximity database and publicly available data on physicians' patient-sharing relationships compiled by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. We used a linear probability model with an interrupted linear time trend specification to model the impact of the PALLAS trial on physicians' dronedarone usage between 2009 and 2014. RESULTS: Before the PALLAS trial, the use of dronedarone was increasing by 0.22 percentage points per quarter (95% CI, 0.19-0.25) in our Medicare Advantage sample (N=343 429 patient-quarter observations) and 0.63 percentage points per quarter (95% CI, 0.52-0.75) in our commercially insured sample (N=44 402 patient-quarter observations). After the PALLAS trial and subsequent United States Food and Drug Administration black box warning, physicians in the Medicare Advantage sample with an above-median number of network connections to other physicians decreased their quarterly usage of dronedarone by 0.12 percentage points more per quarter (95% CI, -0.20 to -0.04; P=0.031) than physicians with equal to or below the median number of network connections. Similar patterns existed in the commercially insured sample (P=0.0318). CONCLUSIONS: After controlling for a wide range of patient, physician, and geographic characteristics, physicians with a greater number of network connections were faster de-adopters of dronedarone for patients with permanent atrial fibrillation after the PALLAS trial and subsequent United States Food and Drug Administration black box warning detailed the harmfulness of dronedarone for these patients. Policies for improving physicians' responsiveness to new medical information should consider utilizing the influence of these important professional network relationships.
- atrial fibrillation
- guideline adherence
- harm reduction
- practice patterns, physicians
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine