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An Exploration of Medical Professionals' Perceptions of Managed Care and Policy Concepts: A Magnitude Estimation Approach

Published in JHHSA, Vol. 28 No. 1

The authors begin by establishing the information content of
measurement as the critical element in seeking research findings. They
go on to indicate that traditional social science scaling has not provided
all the information necessary to accomplish the task of measurement.
They review some of the relevant literature in the field where the most
common measure, Likert type scaling, has been used. They contrast
that literature with research based on magnitude estimation procedures.
They then apply magnitude estimation procedures to study beliefs
among physicians and health care providers regarding managed care.
This procedure is a novel application of magnitude estimation having
never been applied in managed care research. The magnitude
estimation based data are determined to yield ratio scales with true zero
points, thereby, representing the highest level of measurement
information. The differences between the pairs of managed care
concepts using these ratio scales show that the health care concepts
have greater variation in distances between them than might have
heretofore been recognized because of the limitations of the scales
previously applied. Consequently, the data reported have the potential
to yield greater information concerning the current state of physicians’
and providers’ beliefs regarding managed care. Policy implications are

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