Agency Relationship

Classically, the role of a physician or other health professional in determining the patient's (or other client's) best interest and acting in a fashion consistent with it. The patient or client is the principal and the professional the agent. More generally, the agent is anyone acting on behalf of a principal, usually because of asymmetry of information. In health care, the situation can become rather complicated by virtue of the fact that doctors are expected (in many systems) to act, not only for the 'patient', but also for 'society' in the form, say, of other patients or of an organization with wider societal responsibilities (like a managed care organization), or taxpayers, or all potential patients. See also Market Failure, Multi-task Agency, Supplier-induced Demand.

Aggregation Problem 9

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