FROM ARTISAN TO ARCHITECT: THE SPECIALIST AND SYSTEMS OF PROVISION OF DIABETES CARE IN 2001
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OBJECTIVE: To discuss the future role of the diabetes specialist and the endocrinologist in the care of patients with diabetes. METHODS: We reviewed the literature on health care systems, integrated approaches to provision of health care, health care in the primary-care setting for patients with chronic illness, and population-based health care for patients with diabetes. RESULTS: Specialists who care for patients with diabetes will assume a more significant role as caretakers of teams of health care professionals who are responsible for the primary care of patients with diabetes. The integration of specialist care at the primary-care level may lead to improved outcomes at the primary-care level, increased access to specialty care, and decreased costs for the health care system. Alternative systems, such as regulatory barriers to specialist care, are less likely to accomplish these outcomes. CONCLUSION: In the near future, specialists will be expected to care for those who provide primary care for patients with diabetes. Endocrinologists and endocrinology training programs should recognize this emerging role and prepare for it.
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