Too many subspecialties?

                                            http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1607068,00.html

                       Cardiac electrophysiology is a medical sub specialty of Cardiology. They treat rhythm disorders of the heart. Why do we need a subspecialty just for rhythm disorders? Shouldn’t a regular cardiologist be enough? Does the rest of the world have as much specialization as the United States medical system? Does increased specialization even increase patient outcome? 

                        One of my fellow students was arguing that there are too many subspecialties in the US medical system. They mentioned that the rest of world relied more on general practitioners with a larger breadth of knowledge as opposed to specialist with a more narrow focus. I would love to see studies about this topic. 

2 Replies to “Too many subspecialties?”

  1. Studies about what? The effectiveness of only having general practitioners?
    In a sense, specialties are helpful when you have a patient that has a rare disease. It is impossible for one person to be versed in EVERYTHING. Trade-offs are present everywhere. A GP makes the trade off to know a little bit about each type of illness or injury but can’t treat, say, epilepsy, as good as a neurologist.

    I just don’t think care would be optimal.

    1. yeh i agree. The argument my friend was trying to make is not against specialties but against sub-specialties. He thinks many are unnecessary. He states that most of the world doesn’t get super duper specific. A cardiologist should not need to refer to a cardiac electrophysiologist. The cardiologist show be able to competently understand electrophysiology. He claims that this just adds another level of cost and complexity to patient care. My friend thinks that sub-specialties are unnecessary becuz there is so much overlap between the parent specialty. Too many chefs ruin the soup type of thing.

      While i understand his argument, I don’t think i agree with it. I don’t know enough about medicine yet to agree or disagree. I personally think that part of the creation of sub- specialties is to “cover your azz”. Doctors want to make sure they have consulted a super expert in order to cover all bases. You do make a great point about very rare diseases. Sub specialties probably come in handy for those rare illness’s.

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