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† B. How Your HMO Can Really Help You

Narrator: This is Science Today. Health Maintenance Organizations, or HMOís, have been found to be a very effective tool in spreading prevention messages to the public. One of the reasons, says behavioral scientist Barbara Gerbert of the University of California, San Francisco, is that HMOís have access to the names and demographics of all their patients.

Gerbert: So they can target their materials to various age groups, various ethnicities to men and women differently, so to women who need mammography to women who need breast exams, they can know which of their patients are the right age. They can encourage those types of preventive behaviors.

Narrator: Gerbert says this is important as health care moves away from individual physicians.

Gerbert: Today, a lot of people are confused about who their health care provider is and where their insurance comes from and who does care about their health care. And we think that HMOs have a major role to play that would help both patients and the HMO.

Narrator: For Science Today, Iím Larissa Branin.