Future of Family Medicine

The Future of Family Medicine project releases preliminary data. These are tough times for family physicians.  Hailed in the 1990's … we're now a speciality that struggles for identity. 

It's been years since I was treated disrespectfully because of my speciality choice .. but our medical students hear this often.  Today I was brushed off by a physician who considers family physicians inferior to other physicians.  "I don't understand why patients would see a family physician when they could see someone with more training specific to the problem that they have."

I had heard about his bias … but I honestly didn't expect him to be so rude to me .. and my colleagues.

.. and he clearly doesn't understand what I do for a living .. and how the way that we provide care may in fact better than the care provided by specialists or even other generalists. 

Indeed, not two hours after he said this to me, I had a visit with a newborn baby and his parents.   The baby is doing very well, and the parents, while fatigued, are also doing well.  As they were leaving, "dad" asked if we wer accepting new adult patients too .. "maybe we can all come here!" .. He says.  "Of course we are …"  says I.

Something like this happens every week or two.  

Yet the report above mentions that:

 "The public still does not understand the role and value of a family physician. Some patients do not have an appreciation of continuity relationships, and many patients do not see the family physician as scientifically and technologically astute."

And it's not just "the public" that needs the education.  It's our colleagues in other specialties.  Perhaps we can have some of them "shadow" us for a day .. as we shadowed them during medical school.

One thought on “Future of Family Medicine”

  1. As a family practice physician in practice for 5 years, these comments do not surprise me. As debt loads rise and net practice revenues fall, the only medical students who will be able to afford to go into family practice will be from those foreign countries where medical school debt is insignificant or nonexisteent. In fact the AAFP may one day be better served to change its name to the American Academy of Foreign Physicians

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