Family physicians plan to broaden scope of practice

Up-and-coming family physicians plan to provide a broader scope of practice than their more experienced counterparts, according to a study published by JAMA.

Researchers surveyed physicians applying to take the American Board of Family Medicine Maintenance of Certification exam in 2014. The sample included more than 3,000 physicians getting their certification for the first time and nearly 11,000 physicians seeking recertification.

The results show initial certifiers are more likely than recertifiers to intend on providing obstetric care, inpatient care and prenatal care. They did not indicate greater intent to practice pain management, according to the report.  

According to Reuters coverage of the survey, the average initial certifier was 32 years old, compared to the average 51-year-old recertifier. The physicians seeking certification for the first time were also more likely to be female and more diverse, though still a majority were white, according to the report.

The JAMA report notes that differences between the first-time certifiers and the recertifiers were present even if the recertifiers had only been in practice for one to 10 years.

"This pattern suggests that these differences are not generational, but whether they are due to limited practice support, employer constraints, or other causes remains to be determined," the authors wrote.


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