Mammography capacity and appointment wait times: barriers to breast cancer screening
- First Online:
- 272 Downloads
To assess the impact of mammography capacity on appointment wait times.
We surveyed by telephone all mammography facilities federally certified in 2008 in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, New Mexico, and New York using a simulated patient format. County-level mammography capacity, defined as the number of mammography machines per 10,000 women aged 40 and older, was estimated from FDA facility certification records and US Census data.
1,614 (86%) of 1,882 mammography facilities completed the survey. Time until next available screening mammogram appointment was <1 week at 55% of facilities, 1–4 weeks at 34% of facilities, and >1 month at 11% of facilities. Facilities in counties with lower capacity had longer wait times, and a one-unit increase in county capacity was associated with 21% lower odds of a facility reporting a wait time >1 month (p < 0.01). There was no association between wait time and the availability of evening or weekend appointments or digital mammography.
Lower mammography capacity is associated with longer wait times for screening mammograms.
Enhancement of mammography resources in areas with limited capacity may reduce wait times for screening mammogram appointments, thereby increasing access to services and rates of breast cancer screening.