Darius A. Rastegar, MD
Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.
Rastegar DA. Fumbled Handoffs. Ann Intern Med. 2005;143:542. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-143-7-200510040-00014
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2005;143(7):542.
TO THE EDITOR:
Dr. Gandhi (1) documents an example of what appears to be a growing problem: “fumbled handoffs” as patients navigate our increasingly fragmented health care system. The author rightfully notes that “diffused responsibility” is partly to blame and offers some suggestions for remedying this. However, I would submit that there is a simpler, more straightforward solution: to have one person who coordinates care over time and follows the patient in the varied settings where care is provided. This person could see the “big picture” and would be ultimately responsible for ensuring that the patient receives adequate care. Of course, we have such individuals already: They are called primary care physicians. However, as one of this group, I see our role rapidly diminishing; we are in danger of becoming just another worker on our health care assembly line. There are compelling forces behind specialization, but we need to find ways to preserve the continuity and accountability of the “old-fashioned” primary care doctor in our system.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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