Interprofessional Referral Patterns in an Integrated Medical System

Published in: Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, v. 28, no. 3, Mar./Apr. 2005, p. 170-174

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2005

by Ian D. Coulter, Betsy B. Singh, David Riley, Claudia Der-Martirosian

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OBJECTIVE: To determine the interreferral patterns among physicians and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) providers in an independent practice association integrated medical system. METHOD: Data from a 1-year period were collected on referral patterns, diagnosis, number of visits, cost, and qualitative aspects of patient care. The independent practice association provided care for approximately 12000 patients. RESULTS: In the selected integrative network, there are those primary care physicians (PCPs) who refer and those who do not. Among those PCPs that refer to CAM, a preference is shown for a limited number of providers to whom they refer. Although doctors of chiropractic get more referrals, they are also more concentrated among selected providers than are doctors of oriental medicine. CONCLUSION: This study shows the interreferral patterns among the PCP and CAM providers working within an integrated medical system. One effect of being in the network for doctors of chiropractic and doctors of oriental medicine might be the possible interreferrals between each other.

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