Caroline Poplin, MD, JD
Potential Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed. Forms can be viewed at www.acponline.org/authors/icmje/ConflictOfInterestForms.do?msNum=L14-0012.
Poplin C. Too Smart for Primary Care. Ann Intern Med. 2014;160:439. doi: 10.7326/L14-5006-4
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2014;160(6):439.
TO THE EDITOR:
Alas, I believe that the prominent specialist who described primary care as not intellectually challenging in Warm and Goetz's essay (1) was generally correct. I am a Board-certified general internist; I have practiced primary care for 20 years. I spend too much time with the “Worried Well,” doing checkups on healthy people; counseling about diet and exercise; tending to self-limited, acute illnesses (especially upper respiratory infections); and following patients with easily controlled hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and type 2 diabetes. These may be important tasks, but they do not require 7 years of intensive medical training, which is why health reform policy gurus Gottlieb and Emanuel (2) confidently assert that nurse practitioners and pharmacists can and should provide “comprehensive primary care.”
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