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BMJ. 2017 Oct 26;359:j4695. doi: 10.1136/bmj.j4695.

De-adoption and exnovation in the use of carotid revascularization: retrospective cohort study.

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The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, One Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH 03755, USA
The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, One Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH 03755, USA.
Department of Economics, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA.
Section of Vascular Surgery, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH, USA.


Objective To determine physician characteristics associated with exnovation (scaling back on use) and de-adoption (abandoning use) of carotid revascularization.Design Retrospective longitudinal cohort study.Setting Medicare claims linked to the Doximity database provider registry, 2006-13.Participants 9158 physicians who performed carotid revascularization on Medicare patients between 2006 and 2013.Main outcome measures The primary outcomes were the number of carotid revascularization procedures for each physician per year at the end of the sample period, and the percentage change in the volume of carotid revascularization procedures.Results At baseline (2006-07), 9158 physicians performed carotid revascularization. By 2012-13 the use of revascularization in this cohort had declined by 37.7%, with two thirds attributable to scaling back (exnovation) rather than dropping the procedure entirely (de-adoption). Compared with physicians with fewer than 12 years of experience, those with more than 25 years of experience decreased use by an additional 23.0% (95% confidence interval -36.7% to -9.2%). The lowest rates of decline occurred in physicians specializing in vascular or thoracic surgery, for whom the procedures accounted for a large share of revenue. Physicians with high proportions of patients aged more than 80 years or with asymptomatic carotid stenosis were less likely to reduce their use of carotid revascularization.Conclusion Surgeons with more experience and the lowest share in carotid revascularization practice reduced their use of the procedure the most. These practice factors should be considered in quality improvement efforts when the evidence base evolves away from a specific treatment.

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Conflict of interest statement

Competing interest: All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at and declare: no support from any organization for the submitted work; no financial relationships with any organizations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous three years, no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work.

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