A community rheumatology practice offers an educational experience comparable to that of a university tertiary care center.
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OBJECTIVE: To compare the teaching value of rheumatology patients seen in either a community rheumatology practice or in a tertiary care university center. METHODS: Consecutive patients seen at the 2 sites over a one month period were assessed for rheumatology diagnosis, complexity of rheumatologic disease, and treatments received, including number of interventions performed. The overall pedagogic value of the encounter was rated by the rheumatologist for both medical students and postgraduate trainees. RESULTS: Rheumatology patients were comparable at the 2 sites for overall pedagogic value, rheumatology diagnostic category, and complexity of disease. At the community site, however, there were more patients evaluated, more procedures performed, and more new treatments introduced. CONCLUSION: Contrary to current perceptions, comparable pedagogic value of rheumatology patients was observed outside a tertiary care setting. In the changing climate of education, and considering resource limitations that influence current rheumatology practice, community based rheumatology has the potential to offer a valuable educational experience.
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