Patient switching in general practice
Patients switching physicians involves costs to the patients because of less continuity of care. From a theoretical model we derive that inferior physician quality as perceived by patients, implies patient shortage for the physician and more patients switching physicians. By means of a unique panel data set covering the entire population of Norwegian general practitioners (GPs) and estimation methods that adjust for potential endogeneities, we find that the occurrence of patient shortage increases the proportion of patients switching physicians by 50%. A competing hypothesis that GPs with a shortage of patients experience less switching because of superior access is rejected by data. To assist patients in making informed decisions, we suggest that the number of switches a physician experiences should be made public.
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