Some 7,000 hospitals across the nation now have received questionnaires that may influence the course of medicine in the United States. Hospital construction, medical education, health insurance rates, public regard for doctors and health—all these are subject to beneficial revision when this massive five-year study is completed. The study is now at midpoint. It began late in 1953 when the A. M. A. undertook the gigantic task of measuring the total of medical service rendered to the American people by their physicians. This had never been done before. For once, there would emerge a national picture of what the patient gets for what he spends—and not the cold, misleading stroke of a statistician's pen sketching only a dollar sign.
In phase 1 of the three-point study, the A. M. A. Bureau of Medical Economic Research determined the age and sex of all hospital patients on a given day. It was