In this study, the authors sought the voluntary cooperation of a randomly selected sample of community physicians and hospitals in five states for a study of how appropriately they performed coronary angiography, carotid endarterectomy, and upper gastrointestinal tract endoscopy. Ninety percent of 913 sampled physicians (n=819) consented to a review of up to 20 of their 1981 Medicare patients' records. These physicians represented seven different specialties and subspecialties and performed 4988 procedures, 92% of the desired sample. Only three of 230 hospitals did not participate. The authors attribute their method's success to the formation of a network to connect the branches of the profession, respect for office and hospital practice routine, confidentiality, and the development of carefully designed medical record abstraction systems. The conclusion is that, with effort, cooperative research among disparate segments of the medical community can become a reality even if the topic studied is relatively sensitive.
Originally published in: Journal of the American Medical Association, v. 258, no. 18, November 13, 1987, pp. 2538-2542.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.