The Gatekeeping Role of General Practitioners. Does Patients' Information Matter?
We develop a principal-agent model in which the health authority acts as a principal for both a patient and a general practitioner (GP). The goal of the paper is to investigate the relative merits of gatekeeping and non-gatekeeping systems and to analyze the role of the quality of patient information and referral pressure in determining which model dominates. We find that, whenever GPs incentives matter, non-gatekeeping is better only if there is a sufficiently high pressure for referral. At the same time, for a non-gatekeeping system to dominate, the quality of the patient information should not be extreme: neither too bad (patient’ s self-referral would be very inefficient) nor too good (the GP’s agency problem would be very costly).
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