What would a Martian arriving on earth think about how U.S. primary care physicians spend their time? She or he would probably reach the same conclusions as this essay: that a new model for primary care should not be based on physicians' seeing a high volume of patients. On the contrary, physicians should see a relatively small number of patients, perhaps eight to ten daily. Thus liberated, they could spend more time with patients who need it; could have adequate time to communicate via phone and e-mail with patients, physicians, home health nurses, and other providers; and could actively coordinate the care of the practice's population of patients. Although articles about new care models such as the patient-centered medical home imply that physicians should work differently, they rarely mention this fundamental transformation of the workday. I suggest reasons for this omission and ways to overcome barriers to redesigning physicians' workday.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Historically, general practitioners provided first-contact care in the United States. Today, however, only 42 percent of the 354 million annual visits for acute care--treatment for newly arising health problems--are made to patients' personal physicians. The rest are made to emergency departments (28 percent), specialists (20 percent), or outpatient departments (7 percent). Although fewer than 5 percent of doctors are emergency physicians, they handle a quarter of all acute care encounters and more than half of such visits by the uninsured. Health reform provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that advance patient-centered medical homes and accountable care organizations are intended to improve access to acute care. The challenge for reform will be to succeed in the current, complex acute care landscape.
Health Affairs 09/2010; 29(9):1620-9. DOI:10.1377/hlthaff.2009.1026 · 4.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We examine the roles of nurse practitioners (NPs), physician assistants (PAs), and nurse midwives (CNMs) in community health centers (CHCs). We also compare primary care physicians in CHCs with office-based physicians. Estimates are from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, a nationally representative annual survey of nonfederal, office-based patient care physicians and their visits. Analysis of primary care delivery in CHCs and office-based practices are based on 1,434 providers and their visits (n = 32,300). During 2006-2007, on average, physicians comprised 70% of CHC clinicians, with NPs (20%), PAs (9%), and CNMs (1%) making up the remainder. PAs, NPs, and CNMs provided care in almost a third of CHC primary care visits; 87% of visits to these CHC providers were independent of physicians. Types of patients seen by clinicians suggest a division of labor in caring for CHC patients. NPs and PAs were more likely than physicians to report providing health education services. There were no other differences among services examined. Office-based physicians were less likely to work alongside PAs/NPs/CNMs than CHC physicians. CHC staffing is contingent on a variety of providers. CHC staffing patterns may serve as models of primary care staffing for office practices as demand for primary care services nationwide increases.
Journal of Community Health 11/2010; 36(3):406-13. DOI:10.1007/s10900-010-9322-x · 1.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article reviews the recent research, policy and conceptual literature on the effects of payment policy reforms on evidence-based clinical decision-making by physicians at the point-of-care. Payment reforms include recalibration of existing fee structures in fee-for-service, pay-for-quality, episode-based bundled payment and global payments. The advantages and disadvantages of these reforms are considered in terms of their effects on the use of evidence in clinical decisions made by physicians and their patients related to the diagnosis, testing, treatment and management of disease. The article concludes with a recommended pathway forward for improving current payment incentives to better support evidence-based decision-making.
Journal of Comparative Effectiveness Research 05/2013; 2(3):249-59. DOI:10.2217/cer.13.27 · 0.72 Impact Factor
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