Patterns of family doctor decision making in practice context. What are the implications for medical practice variation and social disparities?
Medical practice variation and social disparities in health are pervasive features of health care systems. But what impact might everyday clinical decision making have in shaping such aggregate patterns, and could this in turn be influenced by the immediate environment in which family doctors practise? We investigate this by studying inter-practitioner variation in clinical activity across four payment types in New Zealand, a “gatekeeper” primary care system. We do this for four measures of clinical activity by patient ethnic and socio-economic status in a 2001/2002 representative sample of 9272 encounters at 185 family practices. Initial analysis showed little variation in clinical activity either by patient status or by practice type. However, with the application of multi-level statistical techniques it was evident that, while there was still little systematic difference in practitioner activity rates by patient status, inter-practitioner variation was greater for patients of ethnic minority background and from socio-economically deprived areas. Furthermore, this variability was particularly marked in fee-for-service practice settings. Thus, to the extent that family doctor decision-making behaviour within practice context helps shape aggregate patterns of medical practice variation and social disparity, treatment differences are likely associated not with the level of service but with its variability.
Volume (Year): 76 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description|
|Order Information:|| Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/regional|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Mousquès, Julien & Renaud, Thomas & Scemama, Olivier, 2010. "Is the "practice style" hypothesis relevant for general practitioners? An analysis of antibiotics prescription for acute rhinopharyngitis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(8), pages 1176-1184, April.
- Lutfey, Karen E. & Link, Carol L. & Grant, Richard W. & Marceau, Lisa D. & McKinlay, John B., 2009. "Is certainty more important than diagnosis for understanding race and gender disparities?: An experiment using coronary heart disease and depression case vignettes," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 89(3), pages 279-287, March.
- Lutfey, Karen E. & Campbell, Stephen M. & Renfrew, Megan R. & Marceau, Lisa D. & Roland, Martin & McKinlay, John B., 2008. "How are patient characteristics relevant for physicians' clinical decision making in diabetes? An analysis of qualitative results from a cross-national factorial experiment," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(9), pages 1391-1399, November.
- Aakvik, Arild & Holmås, Tor Helge & Kamrul Islam, M., 2010. "Does variation in general practitioner (GP) practice matter for the length of sick leave? A multilevel analysis based on Norwegian GP-patient data," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(10), pages 1590-1598, May.
- repec:dau:papers:123456789/14982 is not listed on IDEAS
- Hefford, Martin & Crampton, Peter & Foley, Jon, 2005. "Reducing health disparities through primary care reform: the New Zealand experiment," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 9-23, April.
- van Ryn, Michelle & Burke, Jane, 2000. "The effect of patient race and socio-economic status on physicians' perceptions of patients," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 813-828, March.
- Blakely, Tony & Wilson, Nick, 2006. "Shifting dollars, saving lives: What might happen to mortality rates, and socio-economic inequalities in mortality rates, if income was redistributed?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(8), pages 2024-2034, April.
- Burgess, Diana Jill & Crowley-Matoka, Megan & Phelan, Sean & Dovidio, John F. & Kerns, Robert & Roth, Craig & Saha, Somnath & van Ryn, Michelle, 2008. "Patient race and physicians' decisions to prescribe opioids for chronic low back pain," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(11), pages 1852-1860, December.
- de Jong, Judith D. & Groenewegen, Peter P. & Westert, Gert P., 2003. "Mutual influences of general practitioners in partnerships," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(8), pages 1515-1524, October.
- Blakely, Tony & Tobias, Martin & Robson, Bridget & Ajwani, Shilpi & Bonné, Martin & Woodward, Alistair, 2005. "Widening ethnic mortality disparities in New Zealand 1981-99," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(10), pages 2233-2251, November.
- repec:dau:papers:123456789/10510 is not listed on IDEAS
- de Jong, Judith D. & Groenewegen, Peter P. & Spreeuwenberg, Peter & Schellevis, François & Westert, Gert P., 2010. "Do guidelines create uniformity in medical practice?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 209-216, January.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:76:y:2013:i:c:p:47-56. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.