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Hospital-acquired practices said to offer better care


Physician practices bought by hospitals  become better at implementing care plans for chronically ill patients, says a study  in the American Journal of Managed Care.

“It’s interesting for physicians who are considering selling their practice to know what might change for the better and for patients who may find that their doctor’s office is now owned by a hospital,” lead author Tara Bishop, M.D., of Weil Cornell Medical College, in New York City.

Across the country, hospitals are increasingly acquiring private physician practices. The new study sought to discern how this affects patient care. Researchers focused on the practices’ ability to implement Care Management Processes (CMPs) and use health-information technology.

Dr. Bishop and her group analyzed data  from three major national surveys of physician practices conducted over different  periods.

The study found that hospital-acquired practices increased their use of CMPs, which are a proven method of improving patient outcomes. That’s perhaps because those practices  could now access hospitals’ large data and other resources when implementing new policies. Hospital ownership did not appear to affect practices’ use of electronic medical records technology, however.

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