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In absence of medical home, routine care migrates to specialists

American College of Physicians, March 19, 2009

A recent study reports that specialists are increasingly providing routine follow-up and preventive care that would be better suited to the primary care setting. Researchers looked at more than 1 billion ambulatory visits to U.S. office-based specialists in 2002-04 and found that 46.3% of visits were for routine follow-up and preventive care of patients already known to the specialist, while referrals accounted for only 30.4% of all visits. "The results of our study suggest now that not all activity performed by specialists when in a specialist role may require specialized care," the authors commented.