I wonder how many times I’ve used the term “primary care provider” on this site? I try to be as PC as possible, but I never knew that term wasn’t appreciated by the doctors to whom it refers, until I read an article by Dr. Toni Brayer at ACP Internist. Basically, she (and lots of her colleagues, judging from the comments on the article) doesn’t like the label of “provider” because it doesn’t convey respect. Apparently it’s a term that was created by health insurance companies (HMOs in particular), rather than by doctors. I’ll admit to being a bit surprised by all of this… I have never really cared at all about labels – my job doesn’t define me, nor does any other single thing about my life. My own thoughts are that it doesn’t really matter what label is assigned to your particular career choice, as long as you’re happy there and are doing your job to the best of your ability.
In looking back over previous blog posts I’ve written, I’m pleased to see that I tended to use the terms “primary care physician” and “primary care doctors” rather than using the word provider. I guess I was more PC than I knew. What I tend to think of when I hear about any sort of primary care is “shortage”. One way or another, we need to attract more medical students to primary care – by whatever name they prefer – instead of continually adding to the ranks of highly-paid specialists.
I found Dr. Brayer’s article in last week’s Tour de France-themed Grand Rounds, hosted at Captain Atopic.