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Viewpoint |

What Is the Right Number of Clinic Appointments?  Visit Frequency and the Accountable Care Organization

Ishani Ganguli, MD1,2; Jason H. Wasfy, MD, MPhil1,2; Timothy G. Ferris, MD, MPH1,2,3
[+] Author Affiliations
1Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
2Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
3Partners HealthCare, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2015;313(19):1905-1906. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.3356.
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This Viewpoint discusses how physicians and health care organizations could work together to achieve the optimal number of patient office visits.

In the United States, patients make 1 billion visits to physicians’ offices every year.1 These visits are the principal way patients access health care and are the building blocks of the patient-physician relationship, at an estimated annual cost of nearly $600 billion.2 Payment system changes are fueling growth in alternatives to the traditional office visit, raising the question of how often patients should visit and interact with their clinicians. The large variation in practice, the paucity of research on the subject, and the emergence of accountable care organizations (ACOs), in which health systems uphold quality standards and assume a share of financial risk for patient costs, present new impetus to examine this question from an individual and a population health perspective.

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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