Generalists or specialists--who does it better?

P. Cram, W. H. Ettinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Managed care companies encourage primary care physicians to limit referrals to specialists and provide as much of the needed services themselves. As a result, generalist and specialist physicians are now in direct competition with one another. Is the care provided by generalist and specialist physicians different in terms of quality and cost? The authors reviewed the literature over the past five years and found 21 articles comparing the care between specialists and generalists. They realized asking who does it better, the generalists or the specialists, is the wrong question to explore. Physicians must come together to design systems of care that maximize the long-term health of patients and deliver care in a coordinated and efficient manner. The emphasis should be on creating value for the consumer across the continuum of providers and through time. Competition between generalists and specialists in a fragmented system only serves to further weaken the position of physicians in the health care industry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-45
Number of pages6
JournalPhysician executive
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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