Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Future of Medical Specialists....
A hat tip to Kevin for this American Medical News link:Cardiologists pump up efforts to avert shortage. I can remember a time when the words "shortage of" and "cardiologists" were not used in the same sentence unless linked with the words "jobs for". How times change.
One controversial proposal would involve the creation of a cardiology track which would eliminate the third year of an internal medicine residency. Before all you wannabe cath jockeys get excited, look at the details:
Residents in cardiology programs now spend three years in internal medicine, followed by three years in cardiology. They then can opt for an additional year in a subspecialty.

The ACC would like to add an alternative five-year program that eliminates the third year of internal medicine and cuts out training in the high-tech cardiology procedures.
Ah yes, five years for a non-invasive cardiologist. I don't know if they would still learn how to perform diagnostic caths or not. What would the "five-year wonder" get?
Steve Fihn, MD, MPH, a past president of the Society of General Internal Medicine and a professor of medicine and health services at the University of Washington School of Medicine, has not seen the ACC's recommendations.

Still, he said to be successful in getting support for a five-year general cardiology residency, the ACC would need to show what additional skill set these residents would be acquiring that they wouldn't get in internal medicine.

"Presuming they don't take on technical skills, what's left is a lot of basic general internal medicine," Dr. Fihn said. "They might be more proficient at interpreting cardiological information, but what exactly are we talking about in terms of the content?"
Or simply put, "how many echocardiograms does one need to read, or stress tests perform to gain advantage of a well-trained internist?"
Just wait, soon an internal medicine career path can look like this one:
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