Comprehensive Care

The term comprehensive medical care spans the entire spectrum of medicine. The effectiveness with which a physician delivers primary care depends on the degree of involvement attained during training and practice. The family physician must be trained comprehensively to acquire all the medical skills necessary to care for most problems. The greater the number of skills omitted from the family physician's training and practice, the more frequent is the need to refer minor problems to another physician. A truly comprehensive primary care physician adequately manages acute infections, biopsies skin and other lesions, repairs lacerations, treats musculoskeletal sprains and minor fractures, removes foreign bodies, treats vaginitis, provides obstetric care and care for the newborn infant, gives supportive psychotherapy, and supervises diagnostic procedures. The needs of a family physician's patient range from a routine physical examination, when the patient feels well and wants to identify potential risk factors, to a problem that calls for referral to one or more narrowly specialized physicians with highly developed technical skills. The family physician must be aware of the variety and complexity of skills and facilities available to help manage patients and must match these to the individual's specific needs, giving full consideration to the patient's personality and expectations.

Management of an illness involves much more than a diagnosis and an outline for treatment. It requires an awareness of all the factors that may aid or hinder an individual's recovery from illness. This approach requires consideration of religious beliefs; social, economic, or cultural problems; personal expectations; and heredity. The outstanding clinician recognizes the effects that spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social, and economic factors have on a patient's illness.

The family physician's ability to confront relatively large numbers of unselected patients with undifferentiated conditions and carry on a therapeutic relationship over time is a unique primary care skill. The skilled family physician has a higher level of tolerance for the uncertain than her or his consultant colleague.

Society benefits more from a surgeon who has a sufficient volume of surgery to maintain proficiency through frequent use of well-honed skills than from one who has a low volume of surgery and serves also as a primary care physician. The early identification of disease while it is in its undifferentiated stage requires specific training; it is not a skill that can be automatically assumed by someone whose training has been mostly in hospital intensive care units.

Bacterial Vaginosis Facts

Bacterial Vaginosis Facts

This fact sheet is designed to provide you with information on Bacterial Vaginosis. Bacterial vaginosis is an abnormal vaginal condition that is characterized by vaginal discharge and results from an overgrowth of atypical bacteria in the vagina.

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