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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 379-380  

Can the family physician make a comeback?

Department of Otorhinolaryngology, KS Hegde Medical Academy, Mangalore, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication2-Aug-2018

Correspondence Address:
Vadisha Srinivas Bhat
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, KS Hegde Medical Academy, NITTE (Deemed to be University), Mangalore - 575 018, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjdrdypu.mjdrdypu_58_18

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How to cite this article:
Bhat VS. Can the family physician make a comeback?. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth 2018;11:379-80

How to cite this URL:
Bhat VS. Can the family physician make a comeback?. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth [serial online] 2018 [cited 2020 Oct 22];11:379-80. Available from: https://www.mjdrdypv.org/text.asp?2018/11/4/379/238178


The editorial, “can the family physician make a comeback?” in your journal is the need of the present time, when there is weakening of the trust between the doctors and patients.[1] With the number of litigations against doctors increasing year by year, and with the increasing suspicion toward the doctors and the hospitals, the need for a family physician is very relevant.

Family physician is a person who provides comprehensive health-care service, irrespective of age and recognizing the patients who need appropriate specialty service referral. Family physicians are considered as reliable first contact for health concerns and the one, who can directly address most health-care needs. They also help a patient prevent, understand, and manage illness, along with treating the disease. Most of the patients prefer to see their own physicians, as it is associated with greater satisfaction and better compliance.[2]

General practice is the oldest form of medical discipline in the world. In the beginning, all medical practitioners used to be general practitioners.[3] An MBBS graduate could deliver most of the health needs of a family, irrespective of age or the organ system involved. Family physician is more about the relationship with the patient and family and does not depend on a certain set of procedures, which a doctor could perform. In India, the number of traditional general practitioners is decreasing. The older generation of general practitioners are retiring in their 70s and 80s, while no one is opening new practices in their localities.[3]

Family medicine (FM) evolved from the traditional general practice. In countries such as the USA, the UK, Canada, Sweden, and Australia, FM is recognized as a distinct academic discipline. In India, the conventional medical education is based on larger tertiary care hospitals.[3] During graduation, the interaction of the medical student with family physicians is minimal, except during the small period of peripheral postings, which are generally perceived as relaxation from the busy schedule from the main teaching hospital. However, in recent years, the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the National Board of Examinations (DNB) have introduced postgraduate courses in FM in India.[4],[5]

FM is a distinct specialty from General Medicine and Community Medicine as per postgraduate regulations of the MCI 2000.[3] It is a specialty of medical science which is concerned with providing comprehensive care to individuals and families by integrating biomedical, behavioral, and social sciences. FM-trained persons engage with academics and are eligible for faculty positions. They are also competent for community- and population-based research.[6]

Government Medical College, Kozhikode, Kerala, is the first medical college in India to start Doctor of Medicine (MD) in FM course in 2012. Even undergraduates here have posting of 2 weeks in FM. By exposing them to the principles of FM, they can be sensitized to the need of comprehensive healthcare to the society.[6]

In the era of super specialist practice, people often find it frustrating when their small health-related issues are not solved easily, as they have to visit multiple health-care providers. This is worse for elderly people with multiple health issues. Family physicians can provide quality and cost-effective healthcare in such situations.[3] Hence, there is a need to create awareness regarding the importance of family physicians among the medical undergraduates, which can be effectively done by incorporating FM in the undergraduate medical curriculum.[6]

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Banerjee A. Can the family physician make a comeback? Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth 2017;10:505-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
  [Full text]  
Phillips RL Jr., Brundgardt S, Lesko SE, Kittle N, Marker JE, Tuggy ML, et al. The future role of the family physician in the United States: A rigorous exercise in definition. Ann Fam Med 2014;12:250-5.  Back to cited text no. 2
Kumar R. Frequently asked questions about family medicine in India. J Family Med Prim Care 2016;5:3-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Available from: https://www.old.mciindia.org/PG-Curricula/ MD-Family-Medicine.pdf. [Last accessed on 2018 Apr 08].  Back to cited text no. 5
Roshni M. MD family medicine – Calicut experience: History is made here. J Family Med Prim Care 2016;5:238-41.Sir,  Back to cited text no. 6
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  


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