A group of 30 community physicians who practiced in northeastern United States and who participated in the Cancer Prevention in Community Practice project in 1988 were interviewed five years later. The aim of the interviews was to assess the long-term impact of the preventive services office system which had been introduced by the project. The qualitative analysis of interviews revealed three distinct physician philosophies about the provision of preventive services: a Request Only focus, responding to specific patient inquiries about prevention but taking no initiative to recommend indicated services; a Health Maintenance Visit focus, providing indicated services only during visits specifically scheduled for preventive care; and an Opportunistic Prevention focus, providing indicated preventive services at every chance. Physicians demonstrated these philosophies in their overall view of disease prevention, perceived obstacles to delivery of preventive care, as well as in their continued use of flow sheets and their impression of the value of the Cancer Prevention in Community Practice project. The long-term impact of the office system was the most apparent in the Opportunistic Prevention group. We conclude that the durability of a preventive services office system is influenced by a physician's preventive care philosophy.