Claims data from sickness funds were used to describe practice patterns of all physician partnerships of six medical specialties in a region of The Netherlands. The numbers of admissions to hospital, patient days, in-patient and out-patient procedures were compared per 1,000 insured persons. There were large differences among physicians within the same specialties. The non-surgical specialties had more variable practice patterns. Variation in use of specific procedures with a supposedly clear indication versus a less-defined indication was the same. We could not identify special areas with greater differences that should have a priority for quality-improvement activities. The use of sickness fund data in monitoring and decreasing variations in medical practice is discussed.

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European Journal of Public Health
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Casparie, A.F, Post, D, van Harten, W.H, & Gubbels, J.W. (1993). Differences in production between medical specialists: An inventory based on claims data to identify potential areas for quality-improvement activities. European Journal of Public Health, 3(4), 292–295. doi:10.1093/eurpub/3.4.292