Evaluating whether a combined internal medicine-pediatrics practice was successful

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Will primary care practices set up by physicians trained in combined internal medicine-pediatrics residencies be successful? To address this question, the recruitment of patients to the medicine-pediatrics office established in May 1985 by a northeastern medical center and the patients' understanding of and satisfaction with the combined practice were studied via the billing system and a questionnaire mailed to 1,001 households of patients in November 1988. Although equally divided between children and adults, the patient population had two large bulges, infants less than 2 years old and young adults aged 18–39 years. Most of the 833 patients (from 406 households) who returned the questionnaires were well educated and professional. They indicated they were aware of the nature of the practice; had been looking for a specialist, not a “doctor for the family”; and were highly satisfied. Therefore, the medicine-pediatrics residency program studied appears to have been very successful in preparing primary care physicians. These physicians had a particular appeal to young upper-middle-class families.

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