The practice of general internal medicine by subspecialists

Barry Stimmel, Susan Haddow, Lawrence Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To determine the proportion of specialists in internal medicine at a university medical center practicing general internal medicine in addition to their specialty, full-time and voluntary faculty were asked to complete a questionnaire concerning their practice patterns. In addition, the directories of two of the largest managed-care groups in the area were reviewed to identify physicians who were also faculty members, to determine whether faculty in these directories self-identified as general internists. Excluding those with primary research appointments, 303 faculty in the Department of Medicine were asked to participate. Of these, 187 (62%) responded, of whom 86 (46%) were full-time and 101 (54%) voluntary faculty. Of the respondents, 183 (98%) were either board certified (152; 81%) or board eligible (31; 17%) in a subspecialty. Both general internal medicine and specialty medicine were practiced by 116 (65%), with full-time faculty being more likely to have solely subspecialty practices (P < .001). The majority of faculty (150; 80%) participated in managed care. A review of directories of two managed-care groups revealed that 100 (87%) of the 115 faculty with appointments within subspecialty divisions of the Department of Medicine were listed as general internists. Subspecialists in internal medicine already spend considerable time practicing general medicine and are increasingly willing to identify themselves as generalists. Unless this is recognized, the future need for generalists may be overestimated considerably.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-190
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1998
Externally publishedYes


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