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IN A BURGEONING era of accountability through outcomes, the provision of preventive and primary care services is taking on an epidemiologic twist.
Rather than focusing only on individual patients' ills, experts are urging physicians to consider the population as their patient and begin documenting its incidence and prevalence of disease.
Without such a shift, specialists in preventive medicine and public health say clinicians won't be able to provide the most effective care. And in the equally burgeoning era of managed care and capitation, the shift toward population-based medicine can spell financial success.
"It doesn't do any good if your only [health status] measure is that all the kids are immunized, but you haven't reduced infectious diseases in your community," says Jonathan Weisbuch, MD, MPH, medical director of the Los Angeles County (Calif) Department of Health Services.
"This is not part of the black bag of medicine," Weisbuch told participants at
Voelker R. Population-Based Medicine Merges Clinical Care, Epidemiologic Techniques. JAMA. 1994;271(17):1301–1302. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510410013004
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