Consumer Preferences for Group Practice Medical Services in Rural Areas

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Public initiatives are promoting the development of group medical practices in rural areas despite the fact that little information regarding consumer preferences for group practice medical services is available. In this paper, survey data are used to investigate these preferences, as evidenced in the choice of a usual source of care. In the rural area of central Wisconsin studied, consumers tended to choose a multispecialty group in preference to alternative providers, given equal travel costs. Variations in travel costs were found to be an important determinant of this choice. This suggests that consumer acceptance of multispeciality group practices in rural areas will depend to a large extent on their locational convenience. Additional research is needed to determine how consumer preferences for multispecialty group services, particularly as they are reflected in the acceptance of higher travel costs, are dependent on the size and characteristics of the group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-433
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Consumer Affairs
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1980


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