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Ann Fam Med. 2012 Mar-Apr;10(2):169-73. doi: 10.1370/afm.1353.

The myth of the lone physician: toward a collaborative alternative.

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University of California, San Francisco at the San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, California, USA.


Cultural values and beliefs about the primary care physician bolster the myth of the lone physician: a competent professional who is esteemed by colleagues and patients for his or her willingness to sacrifice self, accept complete responsibility for care, maintain continuity and accessibility, and assume the role of lone decision maker in clinical care. Yet the reality of current primary care models is often fragmented, impersonal care for patients and isolation and burnout for many primary care physicians. An alternative to the mythological lone physician would require a paradigm shift that places the primary care physician within the context of a highly functioning health care team. This new mythology better fulfills the collaborative, interprofessional, patient-centered needs of new models of care, and might help to ensure that the work of primary care physicians remains compassionate, gratifying, and meaningful.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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