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Rural primary care physicians are committed to professionalism, quality improvement
Date:2/20/2014

r patients may give them a better sense of environmental and lifestyle factors that affect patients' health but also could lead to challenges when professional responsibilities conflict with patient expectations and perceptions.

This study was designed to determine whether there were significant differences between primary care rural and urban physicians in terms of professional beliefs and in their interest and participation in quality improvement activities. The survey was sent to almost 3,000 practicing physicians randomly selected from an American Medical Association database, almost 2,000 of whom responded. The current report analyzes responses from 840 family practitioners, internists or general pediatricians. Based on ZIP code information, 127 respondents practiced in rural communities, while the other 713 were from urban areas.

There were no significant differences between rural and urban physicians' attitudes regarding participation in quality improvement activities and the importance of open communication with patients, including reporting any errors in their care. Rural physicians were more likely to participate in error-reduction initiatives, in reviews of other physicians' records, and to feel prepared to contribute to quality improvement efforts. They also were more likely to agree that physicians should discuss the costs of care with their patients and to report having added Medicaid or uninsured patients to their patient panels during the preceding year.

"Rural physicians are dedicated to providing high-quality care and committed to supporting safety-net patients," says Anne Kirchhoff, PhD, MPH, corresponding author and an assistant professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah. "The Affordable Care Act should help more rural primary care providers receive payments for care they currently provide without charge. But as the Medicaid expansion is limited to only half the states, many rural providers will still
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Contact: Sue McGreevey
smcgreevey@partners.org
617-724-2764
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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