Managed care is prompting a large revision not only in the ways doctors are employed and paid but also in the essence of the relationship between doctors and patients. In medical sociology, a discipline with a long-standing focus on scrutinizing the role of both the physician and the patient, there has already been discussion of a shift from the doctor as more all knowing to a less dominant position vis-à-vis both the patient and delivery of care. Patients are aware of shifts that place physicians in an environment characterized by new roles and responsibilities, such as acting as a gatekeeper. Limitations on health care coverage and the rethinking of roles have led to a depiction of the patient as the consumer of care and the managed care plan's becoming the commercial enterprise from which a service is obtained. The model of the patient as consumer of medically related goods and services appears to be growing, as does a model of the physician as one who contracts for a specified range of services for specific patients. In this article, trends in and problems with contemporary managed care are raised. Calls for patients' rights legislation may be among the health trends of the new millennium.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science