Research in Family Practice is Lacking, Article Argues
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 30, 2003
Policy Studies in Family Practice and Primary Care
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Washington, DC 20036
Contact: Leslie Champlin
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"This lack of research is an international problem. It is not an Oklahoma problem; it is not a Boston problem. This has global repercussions," said Larry Green, M.D., director the Robert Graham Center: Policy Studies in Family Practice and Primary Care in Washington, D.C.
Green is one of the authors of the article in The Lancet, "The Need for Research in Primary Care." “The knowledge base for family medicine can be expanded by integrating multiple ways of knowing, studying how systems affect health care and involving patients in generating research questions, as well as investigating disease phenomena and treatment of patients,” explained Green. "We especially need to focus on the origins of illness, the origins of health -- as observed in family medicine, and we really need to understand symptoms."
The paper's other authors are Jan De Maeseneer, M.D., of Ghent, Belgium, chair of the faculty of medicine and health sciences at Ghent University; Ghent University professor Mieke van Driel, M.D.; and Chris van Weel, M.D., of the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands and a member of the executive committee of Wonca, the world organization of family doctors.
"Many patients in primary care have and expect treatment for multiple problems at the same time. What is the ‘evidence’ to be followed in the approach to an 82-year-old patient with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and diabetes type 2? There is a lot of evidence about treatment of COPD and diabetes type 2, for under 75. There is, however, in the literature, little, if any, ‘evidence’ about how to approach an 82-year-old patient that has both conditions," the authors wrote.
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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 110,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is 240 million office visits each year — nearly 87 million more than the next largest medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.
To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org.
The Robert Graham Center conducts research and analysis that brings a family practice perspective to health policy deliberations in Washington. Founded in 1999, the Center is an independent research unit working under the personnel and financial policies of the American Academy of Family Physicians. For more information, please visit www.graham-center.org.
The information and opinions contained in research from the Robert Graham Center do not necessarily reflect the views or policy of the AAFP.