Adoption of Health Promotion Practices in a Cohort of U.S. Physician Organizations


      Physician organizations such as medical groups and independent practice associations can play a vital role in health promotion through the adoption of effective health promotion practices such as health risk assessments, patient reminder systems, and health promotion education programs.


      To examine organizational changes in a cohort of physician organizations and changing health promotion practices.


      Data for a cohort of 369 physician organizations in the U.S. with 20 or more physicians were collected between September 2000 and September 2001 and subsequently from March 2006 to March 2007. Paired-sample t tests were used to identify changes in physician organization characteristics and the use of nine health promotion practices between 2000–2001 and 2006–2007.


      Compared to 2000–2001, the cohort of physician organizations in 2006–2007 was larger, more likely to be owned by physicians; less likely to be owned by a hospital, health system, or HMO; more profitable; and more likely to use electronic information technology. Between 2000–2001 and 2006–2007, physician organizations increased the use of health risk appraisals to contact high-risk patients and increased the use of reminders for eye exams for diabetic patients. During the same time period, physician organizations decreased the use of nutrition and weight-loss health promotion programs.


      The adding and dropping of programs among physician organizations is due to many factors, including changing regulatory environments, market conditions, populations, and new health promotion technologies. In the coming years, incentives and regulatory policy should encourage the adoption of effective health promotion practices by physician organizations.
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