Table 1.

Characteristics of Study Sample

* Numbers may not sum to 776 for each variable because of missing data.
Patient characteristics (n = 776 referred patients)*
    0–19 y709.0
    20–39 y17923.1
    40–49 y14618.8
    50–59 y13317.2
    60–69 y12015.5
    ≥ 70 y12716.4
Patient/parent education
    Less than high school degree12115.6
    High school or some college37448.2
    College or technical school graduate20726.7
    Graduate or professional degree749.5
Annual family income
Patient race
Health plan characteristics
Health plan payer (n = 648)
Gatekeeping and primary care payment type (n=630)
    No gatekeeping29446.7
    Gatekeeping with fee-for-service payment17728.1
    Gatekeeping with capitated payment15925.2
Referral decision characteristics (n = 776 referrals)
Type of specialist referred to
    Medical subspecialist25933.4
    Surgical subspecialist36246.6
    Nonphysician clinician8911.5
    Mental health professional324.1
Primary expectation of specialist
    Consultation for advice8110.6
    Perform a test or procedure38550.3
    Shared responsibility for ongoing management22028.7
    Transferred responsibility for ongoing management8010.4
Expected duration of specialist involvement
    <3 mo49364.0
    3–12 mo17322.5
    >12 mo10413.5
Urgency of referral—how soon patient should see specialist
    <1 wk26534.6
    1 wk – 1 mo40652.9
    At the patient’s discretion9612.5
Duration of relationship with referring physician
    <3 mo9212.0
    3 mo – 5 y29538.5
    ≥5 y37949.5
Referring physician/staff scheduled specialist appointment
Referring physician gave patient the name of a specialist
Referring physician transferred patient information to specialist
Referring physician characteristics (n = 133 physicians)
Years in practice
    <5 y2821.1
    6–14 y3828.6
    ≥15 y6750.4
    Family physician12392.5
    General internist107.5
Referring practice characteristics (n = 81)
US census division
    Solo, 2- to 3-physician practice3037.0
    Large practice (>3 physicians)5163.0