Effect of ambulatory utilization review on referrals from generalists to specialists

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Abstract

We studied whether ambulatory utilization review (UR) alters how many patients internal medicine residents refer to subspecialists, and whether the effect persists without reinforcement. We compared referral rates of residents from a firm that held UR meetings (intervention firm residents,n=20) with those of residents from a firm that did not (control firm residents,n=21). We then compared referral rates of 17 intervention firm residents while they were participating in UR with their rates after not participating for at least 4 weeks. Intervention firm residents submitted 30% fewer referrals than control firm residents (9% vs 13%,p=.05). However, the effect was short-lived; after 4 weeks without UR, intervention firm resident referral rates were similar to control firm referral rates.

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