Self-reported referral patterns in practices of Family/General Practitioners, Internists, and Obstetricians/Bynecologists

Jeffery Sobal, Herbert L. Muncie, Carmine M. Valente, David M. Levine, Bruce R. DeForge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A profile of referrals can help to define the characteristics of a physician's practice. Self-reported referral patterns in the practices of Family/General Practitioners (FP/GP), Internists (IM), and Obstetricians/Gynecologists (OB/GYN) in Maryland were assessed with a questionnaire mailed to an area sample of 1,715 physicians. A 65% response rate was obtained after three mailings (weighted N=1,487). Self-reported referrals received per month averaged 16% of patients seen (six percent FP/GP, 13% OB/GYN, 23% IM), and were more frequent among self-employed, younger, metropolitan and female physicians who spent less time in patient care. Self-reported referrals made per month averaged ten percent (10% FP/GP), 11% IM, and eight percent OB/GYN), and were higher for physicians in metropolitan areas. The correlation between percentage referrals received and percentage referrals made was r=.19 (r=.03 FP/GP, r=.21 IM, r=.25 OB/GYN). Self-reported practice referral patterns are similar to referrals reported in prior studies, and can be used to consider specialty differences in referral behavior of physicians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-183
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Community Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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