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Ann Intern Med. 1995 Mar 1;122(5):353-9.

The effects of organizational structure on primary care outcomes under managed care.

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  • 1Stanford Center for Organizations Research, Stanford University, CA.


The advent of managed care in the United States brings with it more and larger organizations involved in providing primary care. Studies of organizations in general suggest that large managed care organizations will have difficulty providing high-quality primary care largely because of their complexity and the fragmentation of their work force. Existing data confirm that these organizations have shortcomings in both patient and physician satisfaction. There are few data to indicate whether such organizations can mitigate these problems by saving costs through economies of scale. To offset their inherent weaknesses, large primary care organizations need to ensure patients' accessibility to their physicians, the continuity of the physician-patient relationship, a care environment conducive to a high-quality physician-patient interaction, and the clinical autonomy of physicians. Much additional research needs to be done to further understand these issues.

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