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Medical Practice


Over the past several decades, there have been increased demands that physicians account for the way in which they practice by meeting certain federal and state standards. The hospitalization of patients whose care is funded by the government is subject to utilization review. This procedure requires the physician to defend the reason for the patient's hospital stay if it extends beyond the established average standard. Elective surgery, in some cases, requires a second opinion. The purpose of these regulations is to try to limit the high cost of health care. Probably, all aspects of medical practice will in time be subjected to this type of review, which will profoundly alter medical practice.

Other approaches that may be used to judge continuing competence of physicians are an assessment of continuing education, auditing patients' records, reexamination for recertification, and time-limited certification as a prerequisite for relicensing. Such requirements clearly improve a physician's factual knowledge, but it is uncertain if they similarly effect the quality of practice.

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