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August 12, 1988

Physicians and the Organizational Evolution of Medicine

JAMA. 1988;260(6):826-831. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410060096035

Within medicine there is growing uneasiness and debate about changes in medical care delivery. Much of this concern centers on the evolution of organizations and the role of physicians. The emergence of multi-institutional organizations, the rise of investor-owned health care corporations, and the expansion of group medical practice illustrate the increasing organizational influence in medicine. Added to these trends are new financial incentives confronting both physicians and organizations so that the environment increasingly favors conflict. This article reviews the primary strategies for resolving physician-organization conflicts, including cooperation between physicians and organizations, having physician representatives in governance and management, restructuring incentives, and restructuring organizations. Although these strategies have various merits, we suggest that every physician has a personal responsibility to become more involved in organization and management issues. Physicians can play an important role in guiding the evolution of medicine.

(JAMA 1988;260:826-831)