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J Gen Intern Med. 2015 Jun;30(6):848-52. doi: 10.1007/s11606-015-3182-0. Epub 2015 Jan 22.

The pace of change in medical practice and health policy: collision or coexistence?

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Department of Medicine, Section of General Internal Medicine and Center for Translational and Policy Research of Chronic Diseases, University of Chicago, 5841 S Maryland Ave, MC 2007, Chicago, IL, 60637, USA,


Medical practice and health policy are both changing rapidly. While the adopting of changes is not new for physicians, the pace of change in standards of care, marked by advances and reversals, has accelerated over the course of the past decade. A recurring new theme in medical practice has been an emphasis on tailoring treatment plans to individual patients. Physicians have had to simultaneously absorb new processes in the health care system brought about by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act in 2009 and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. The ability of physicians to maintain standards of care that focus on individual patients may conflict with changes resulting from new health policies that emphasize population health management. Primary care physicians may be one of the few collective voices capable of identifying areas where population-level health policies conflict with the care of individual patients, and policymakers should include practicing primary care physicians in the form of community boards in order to ensure the development of new health policies that provide sustainable high-value patient care.

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