Research opportunities in primary care

by Kathleen N. Williams, Robert H. Brook


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Primary care is expected to redress many of the ill effects brought about by medical specialization and technology, but it is being advocated with the same uncritical enthusiasm as were earlier technological developments in medicine. This paper focuses on the fundamental question of whether primary care can accomplish the objectives it has adopted, and outlines examples of research that needs to be undertaken: (1) Research on new and old quasi-medical techniques (biofeedback, acupuncture) and how they complement traditional medicine. (2) Ascertaining the value placed on health care goals by the American public. (3) Developing cost-effectiveness concepts that can be understood and applied by clinicians and consumers. (4) Planning for education for physicians and paramedical personnel must be made more sensitive to future needs. (5) Much work remains to be done regarding quality of care, particularly developing methods to monitor both technical care and art of care, and measuring patient satisfaction with care.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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