Practice pattern variation between two medical schools

Kathleen N. Gillespie, James C. Romeis, Kathy S. Virgo, James W. Fletcher, Anne Elixhauser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


This study examined physician test-ordering behavior at a large urban Veterans Administration Medical Center staffed by two medical schools. Patients are assigned randomly to the two schools’ wards, which operate independently of each other. The medical records of 119 patients, admitted during a 5-month period, were abstracted for data on the process and outcomes of medical care. Only one statistically significant difference in diagnostic testing practices was revealed by the observation that 12% of patients on one service received another abdominal film, while no patients on the other service did. The implications of studies such as this for small-area analysis are discussed. If variation in the utilization of health services is observed in a geographic region, then a study of physician behavior at a single facility may help to identify the reason for the variation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-542
Number of pages6
JournalMedical care
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Diagnostic tests
  • Practice pattern variation
  • Small area analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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    Gillespie, K. N., Romeis, J. C., Virgo, K. S., Fletcher, J. W., & Elixhauser, A. (1989). Practice pattern variation between two medical schools. Medical care, 27(5), 537-542.