Activating Internal Medicine
THE PHYSICIAN AND SPORTSMEDICINE - VOL 26 - NO. 5 - MAY 98
Until the past few years, it seemed to me that most physicians who were trained in internal medicine, as I was, were uninterested in anything that moved faster than 3 miles per hour. Not so, now. At the American College of Physicians (ACP) annual meeting last month on San Diego's spectacular harbor, the sessions on sports medicine were jammed. People who were not in their seats 10 minutes early were kept out in the hallway by fire marshals. Why all the interest?
The answer, no doubt, has to do with the monumental changes in healthcare delivery in the era of managed care. Many internists are seeing their job descriptions shift under their feet as they come under pressure to treat a broader range of patients.
A few internists are adapting by becoming "hospitalists," spending their time taking care of the hospitalized patients handed off to them by "outside" docs—office-based primary physicians, mainly in family practice and general internal medicine. At the same time, general internists are truly becoming more general. Under managed care, office-based internists are being called on to see more patients with activity-related musculoskeletal problems, including sports injuries. Internists generally don't get medical-school or residency training in this area; hence the jammed meeting rooms at ACP.
Of course, some general internists working in primary care are already used to seeing patients who have problems related to sports and exercise. As a matter of fact, about 40% of readers of The Physician and Sportsmedicine are internists. Do they read us to learn more about plasmids? No. We don't do that. They want to learn about the injured active patient who—increasingly often—walks through their office door. They recognize the improved health that activity can offer patients and the occasional problems that stressful physical activity can cause.
Whether you are a newcomer or a veteran in this field, you have come to the right place to find practical guidance for treating and advising physically active patients. This journal will continue to cover activity medicine for primary care physicians in breadth and depth. And if you are one of the internists who are new to the territory: Welcome aboard.
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