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Home / News & IndustryManaged Care Insight and Analysis
Updated: March 15, 2011
Study: Personal Physicians Ensure Better Care

Patients with a regular doctor, either at a community health center or at the physician’s office, reported receiving better quality healthcare and had a better health care experience than patients who had a regular place of care but lack an established physician relationship.

The findings appeared in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, co-authored by Dr. Anne Beal, head of the Aetna Foundation; and Susan Hernandez, formerly of The Commonwealth Fund.

The healthcare system is facing a paradox, the authors said. National health reform is making primary care available to more people as the number of primary care doctors decline.

"We don’t know the full impact of their declining numbers on health outcomes," Beal wrote.

The researchers polled nearly 3,000 adults who saw a doctor regularly, regardless of location, and then analyzed the respondents’ quality of care, as defined by receiving preventive care, as well as their personal experiences with care.

The American College of Physicians estimates that only one third of physicians in the United States practice primary care, and the Department of Health and Human Services estimated in 2009 that more than 16,000 primary care physicians are required to meet the current needs of the U.S. population.

According to the 2010 National Resident Matching Program, the number of U.S. medical students choosing internal medicine residencies was up about a modest 3 percent in 2009.

Address: Aetna Inc., 151 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, CT 06156; (800) 872-3862, www.aetna.com.


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