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All Primary Care Trainees Are Not the Same: The Role of Economic Factors and Career Choice

Freed GL, Dunham KM; Research Advisory Committee of the American Board of Pediatrics.
Pub Med #: 

Historically, the specialties classified as "primary care" have been pediatrics, internal medicine, and family medicine. Often, primary care disciplines are aggregated in workforce or career-preference studies, and any differences among them are not assessed or reported. However, such aggregation is likely unwarranted and may actually lead to false or misguided policy direction in the name of "primary care disciplines" when, in fact, there may be substantive differences among these specialties. We examine here the data available to assess whether the physicians who make up 2 of the primary care specialties are necessarily the same with regard to their perspectives on the economic aspects of medicine in general, or their own personal economic preferences regarding career choice in particular. Recent research has demonstrated that there are substantive differences among internal medicine trainees and pediatric trainees. As such, we must be cautious when using data from 1 primary care specialty to suggest structural and/or policy changes regarding the economic structure of training for the others.