The corporatisation of General Practice – Pearls and Irritations

GP doctor taking senior man's blood pressure in surgery room having a check up.

The very nature and history of Corporatisation suggests the maximising of profit over and above individual care. Take banking and law as case studies.

Proposals to reform how Medicare supports primary care also need to take account of the changed ownership structure of general practice.

Much of the information cited in the article came from the grey literature, as there are few formal studies of the issue. In brief the material identified suggested that:

  • continuity of care diminishes as practice size increases, while pathology ordering is positively associated with practice size;
  • patient satisfaction is lower in corporatised practices compared with traditional ones;
  • non-traditional providers performed worse than traditional ones on a range of performance indicators related to cost and efficiency, access, and clinical effectiveness.

However, one Australian study showed no difference between types of practice in the management of patients with diabetes.

The authors concluded that “while there is little Australian evidence that worse clinical care is delivered in corporate-owned general practice, there is no evidence that care is better… more Australian research and potentially regulation are needed to track and control what [changing patterns of ownership] means for patient care in terms… of patient experience [and] health outcomes”.

 

Source: The corporatisation of General Practice – Pearls and Irritations

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