A general medicine clinic: the dilemma and teaching implications

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An academic general medicine clinic (GMC) was studied to determine current patterns, shortcomings, and potential solutions. Retrospective medical record review of 349 randomly selected GMC patients from 1975 permitted profile generation. Only 11.5% of the patients had first visits in the study year. Almost 75% of the study group used the university hospital as their major source of care. Over two years only 58% continued in active care, while 5% died, 8% needed no further follow-up, and 29% were lost from care. The prevalence of hypertensive cardiovascular disease was disproportionately high. Patients exhibited chronic disease exclusively in 91% of return visits. The authors conclude that the GMC offers insufficient variety of patient presentations for optimal postgraduate medical education and inadequate accessibility for comprehensive medical care. Potential improvements include expanding the patient base, extending availability, and employing nonphysician clinicians.

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