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Surviving the New Economics of Health Care

Dr. David O. Meltzer, chief of the Hospital Medicine Section and director of the Center for Health and Social Sciences, University of Chicago

Can stronger doctor-patient bonds lead to better care and lower health care costs? A recent Public Affairs Forum hosted by the Atlanta Fed explored this question with Dr. David Meltzer, an associate professor at the University of Chicago.

"It used to be that people had a primary care doctor who took care of all the dimensions of health care," Meltzer explained in a video interview. The situation is much different today. "Increasingly in the U.S., people have had a clinic doctor who saw them when they were in a clinic, but then a different doctor that sees them in a hospital, and maybe a different doctor every time," he said. According to Meltzer, continuity in the doctor-patient relationship yields better patient outcomes and economic benefits, including lower costs and fewer hospitalizations.

An ongoing study spearheaded by Meltzer explores the benefits of having one doctor for inpatient and outpatient care for frequently hospitalized patients. Watch the video interview to learn more about the study and Meltzer's approach to doctor-patient relationships.