Nutrition as an aspect of the private practice of medicine
Hubbard, Linda Dell
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Private physicians in the Bethesda, Md. area were surveyed via hand delivered questionnaire. Two hundred seven responses were received (response rate=61.4%). Data were analyzed according to specialty and year of graduation from medical school. A larger percentage of primary care providers than referral care providers routinely asked patients about food patterns. Approximately 84% of all physicians said they had patients in need of nutrition education (n.e.) and 76% had patients in need of consultation with a dietitian (R.D.); however only 54% of physicians provided for n.e. In their practice and only 21% made patient referrals to dietitians. Hospital/clinic R.D.'s were being utilized by twice as many physicians as R.D.'s in private practice; however, physicians indicated a slight preference for dietitians in private practice as the preferred mechanism for providing R.D. consultation for patients followed closely by hospital R.D.'s. Generally, providers of primary care gave more affirmative answers to the survey questions than physicians who provide care on a referral basis, indicating greater attention to nutritional aspects of patient assessment.
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