Thursday, March 15, 2007

Loss of procedures is another reason general Internal Medicine is on life support

Go read Retired Doc’s summary of an Annals of Internal Medicine survey of ACP general internist members and an accompanying editorial by two officials of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) concerning the marked decline in procedures done by general internists over the past two decades.

I’m not surprised by the decline in procedures but I found the ABIM editorial’s recommendations odd concerning what procedures general internists should be able to do versus merely talk about. I appreciate the comments by letter writer and Annals Associate Editor Michael LaCombe, who decries the committee approach to procedural competencies and calls for research on what procedures general internists should be trained to do. He concludes (italics mine) “Finally, a caveat to you young students out there: if such research is not funded, if this profound question is not answered by funded clinical research, if the question is sent to committee and therefore to certain death, continue to avoid general internal medicine at all costs, as you have been.”

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