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Health Serv Res. 1971 Spring; 6(1): 39–48.
PMCID: PMC1067309

The Physician Referral Process

A Theoretical Perspective

Abstract

The behavior of physicians in referring patients to other physicians is considered from the standpoint of social costs and rewards to the interacting physicians, and the implications of referral for quality of care and cost to the patient are discussed. Exchange theory is offered as a framework allowing conceptualization and analysis of the various aspects of the referral interaction. Relevant variables for investigation are identified, and suggestions are made for future research into this aspect of the health care delivery system.

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Selected References

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  • JOHNSON AC, KROEGER HH, ALTMAN I, CLARK DA, SHEPS CG. THE OFFICE PRACTICE OF INTERNISTS. 3. CHARACTERISTICS OF PATIENTS. JAMA. 1965 Sep 13;193:916–922. [PubMed]
  • Penchansky R, Fox D. Frequency of referral and patient characteristics in group practice. Med Care. 1970 Sep-Oct;8(5):368–385. [PubMed]

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