Aug 14, 2014

Nearly two-thirds of US office-based physicians work in practices of fewer than seven physicians. It is often assumed that larger practices provide better care, although there is little evidence for or against this assumption. What is the relationship between practice size—and other practice characteristics, such as ownership or use of medical home processes—and the quality of care? We conducted a national survey of 1,045 primary care–based practices with nineteen or fewer physicians to determine practice characteristics. We used Medicare data to calculate practices’ rate of potentially preventable hospital admissions (ambulatory care–sensitive admissions). Compared to practices with 10–19 physicians, practices with 1–2 physicians had 33 percent fewer preventable admissions, and practices with 3–9 physicians had 27 percent fewer. Physician-owned practices had fewer preventable admissions than hospital-owned practices. Health Affairs, August 2014