Comprehensiveness of care by family physicians in Edmonton
Andrew J Cave¹, Lakshmi Parameswaran²
¹Department of Family Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; ²Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
Introduction: The scope of practice by general practitioners and family physicians in North America has been changing over time. Are academic practices providing residents the same scope of practice as the urban practices into which they are going?
Methods: A survey describing the activities and scope of general practice/family practice was constructed from the literature and checked with general practitioners/family physicians for face validity. It was administered by mail to academic family physicians at the University of Alberta Department of Family Medicine in Edmonton and to all practicing general practitioners/family physicians in the city and Capital Region around Edmonton. There was a response rate of 78% and 50.9%, respectively.
Results: Academic physicians’ practices differed from those of their urban colleagues. The former were all certified by the College of Family Physicians of Canada, worked in group practices, and included more males and fewer immigrants. They worked as many hours, but did less clinical work than their urban colleagues. Even so, 25% did more than 40 hours of clinical work each week compared with 68% of urban physicians. There was a wide scope of services and procedures provided by both groups and other services that were different from group to group. There was no difference between groups in intention to add or remove services in the next two years, but academic physicians had removed more services in the last two years.
Conclusion: General practitioners/family physicians still provide a wide range of services. Although both academic and urban general practitioners/family physicians have reduced some services in the last two years, they have both added others to their repertoire. Although the teaching and urban general practitioners/family physicians practices have many similarities, they also have differences, which may have implications for the training of future urban family physicians.
Keywords: comprehensiveness, primary care, education
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