Making the Case for a New National Data Collection Effort on Physicians and Their Practices
Physicians play a key role in the American health care system. Beyond providing direct medical care, they authorize the great majority of medical services, thus making them directly or indirectly responsible for access, quality, and a significant portion of U.S. health care spending. Accurate and timely information on physicians and the organizations in which they practice is essential to understanding the functioning of the U.S. health care system; further, the data so generated is likely to inform many other health care systems and hopefully lead to more generalizable methodological advances. As discussed in the papers in this supplement, physicians and their practice organizations are integral to the payment and delivery system reforms currently underway; evaluating success (or lack thereof) requires understanding diverse medical practices and how physicians and their organizations are responding to these policies.
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