The Physician-Patient Relationship Revisited - the Patient's View
The importance of the physician-patient relationship for the health care market is beyond controversy. Most theoretical work is done in a principal-agent framework, dealing with moral hazard problems. Recent work emphasizes a two-sided asymmetric information relationship between physician and patient (double moral hazard). In contrast to most work looking only at the physician's perspectives, our paper concentrates on the patient's view. Estimation results using panel data support the hypotheses that physician consultation and health-relevant behavior are not stochastically independent. This means that health care demand is determined by the patient and not only by the physician. In the recursive bivariate probit model, the patient’s health-relevant behavior has a significant positive influence on the probability of a physician visit. This should be taken into account in the discussion that primary care physicians should function as gatekeepers.
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