Physicians certified in family medicine. What are they doing 8 to 10 years later?
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OBJECTIVE: To determine field of medicine and location of a cohort of physicians certified in family medicine between 1989 and 1991 and residing in Ontario in 1993 and to gather information on the scope of practice of family physicians in the cohort in 1999. DESIGN: Responses to a mailed questionnaire sent in 1999 were compared with responses to a 1993 survey of this group. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: All family physicians in Ontario in 1993 who received certification in 1989, 1990, or 1991 after completing a family medicine residency. Seven of 557 respondents to the 1993 survey were ineligible; 293 physicians (53%) responded to the 1999 survey. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Field, location, and scope of practice. RESULTS: About 91% of the cohort were still practising family medicine, although 11% of these had restricted their practices to certain areas within family medicine. Physicians migrated from Ontario (6%) in nearly equal numbers to other provinces and other countries, predominantly the United States. More family physicians offered counseling, shared antenatal care, and newborn care in 1999 than in 1993. Those with restricted family practices provided fewer types of services and were less likely to provide antenatal or intrapartum care or to provide in-hospital services. CONCLUSION: Receiving certification in family medicine does not guarantee that physicians will remain in family practice 8 to 10 years later. Loss from general family medicine to restricted practices within family medicine and specialization was greater than loss from migration.
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