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Revista médica de Chile

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REYES B, Humberto. What is Internal Medicine?. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2006, vol.134, n.10, pp.1338-1344. ISSN 0034-9887.

Internal Medicine can be defined as a medical specialty devoted to the comprehensive care of adult patients, focused in the diagnosis and non surgical treatment of diseases affecting internal organs and systems (excluding gyneco-obstetrical problems) and the prevention of those diseases. This position paper reviews the history of Internal Medicine, the birth of its subspecialties and the difficulties faced by young physicians when they decide whether to practice as internist or in a subspecialty. In Chile as in most occidental countries formal training in a subspecialty of internal medicine requires previous certification in internal medicine but the proportion of young physicians who remain in practice as general internists appears to be considerably lower than those who choose a subspecialty. The main reasons for this unbalance can be related to financial advantages (by the practice of specialized technologies) and the patients' tendency to request direct assistance by a professional thought to be better qualified to take care of their specific problems. Training programs in internal medicine should consider a greater emphasis in comprehensive outpatient care instead of the traditional emphasis for training in hospital wards

Keywords : Education, medical, undergraduate; Internal Medicine; Internship and Residency; Specialties, medical.

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