News: Should primary care specialties merge?

November 7, 2008

The primary care specialties would be more financially and politically competitive if they merged into a single specialty, according to the associate dean of an Illinois medical school.

The primary care specialties-family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics-would be more competitive, financially and politically, if they merged into a single specialty, according to John G. Halvorsen, MD, a family physician and associate dean at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria.

Halvorsen believes these splintered groups cause confusion about primary care's identity, and they prevent primary care from serving as the basis of health care-creating a "medical home"-that would improve patient outcomes and reduce costs, he writes in Academic Medicine, a monthly journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges.