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Old August 11th, 1996, 22:00
sysadmin sysadmin is offline
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1996. A Higher Standard

A HIGHER STANDARD

"Have no higher ambition than to become an all-round family doctor, whose business in life is to know disease nd to know how to treat it." Sir William Osler

As medical specialization and our knowledge of disease is inexorably moving forward at an exponential rate, family doctors are called upon to provide an increasing level of sophisticated care. The days of "take two aspirin and call me in the morning" are over. Now, a more common phrase is "Let's see what the MRI shows 1st." How's a family doctor to keep up? Compassion and caring are simply not enough. Sick patients frequently need the benefits of advanced technology. State-of-the-art care saves lives.

A second pressure facing the family physician is financial. As the gatekeepers of medical care, family doctors are called upon to control costs. A frequent question we face when ordering a test, or prescribing a therapy, is whether or not it is "cost-effective." Is it "cost-effective" to screen young people's cholesterol level? How "cost-effective" is the prostate specific antigen test? Are cholesterol lowering agents "cost-effective"?

Addressing both of these issues is the advent of on-line journals. Soon libraries will no longer need to spend thousands of dollars a year subscribing to print journals. With the use of the internet's world wide web, on-line journals are an extremely cost-effective way to get the latest medical information out to practitioners. For the small cost of an internet access account and a computer, dozens of medical journals are just a phone call away.

On-line journals also provide the rapid publication and dissemination of the latest research. It simply is easier and faster to publish an on-line article than to send the article off to the printer and then mail it off to subscribers. Furthermore, the article is available instantly to readers throughout the world.

Helping primary care providers stay up-to-date on the latest research while also helping them save the high cost of subscription journals: these are two important functions of FAMILY MEDICAL PRACTICE ON-LINE (http://www.priory.com). It is peer-reviewed in order to keep the quality high, and very inexpensive to read. Together, we can reach that higher standard.

Thomas F. Heston, MD
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