Health Aff W4:67-69.
Center for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH, USA
A reexamination of physician productivity can resolve the current workforce debate. If the improvement of patients’ health and well-being is the goal of medicine, then physician productivity should use this as the output instead of physician work effort (visits, procedures, or relative value units). Jonathan Weiner’s study of prepaid group practices (PGPs) and regional data from the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care demonstrate that the combination of low physician labor inputs with favorable outcomes is achievable in varied payer environments. Better medical care requires not more physicians, but rather improving physician productivity to the levels already present in many locales.
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