Minnesota Rural Health School
Professional Disciplines of Minnesota Rural Health School    



The Medical Care Model

The traditional Medical Care Model is disease- or illness-based. Using this biomedical approach to problems, symptoms elicited from patients are compiled. Based on these symptoms a differential of possible diseases or illnesses is constructed. Additional history is obtained in order to support or refute the possible diagnoses. Using a "dynamic method" the most likely diagnoses are determined within the first 5 minutes of the doctor-patient encounter. The physical examination and diagnostic testing are conducted to further strengthen or weaken the possibility of the different diseases explaining the patient's condition. Once the diagnosis is established with an acceptable probability, a treatment plan is developed.

In 1969, the specialty of Family Practice was established. The basic principles of family practice include Continuity of Care with the continuum being the patient and the disease being the episode. Comprehensiveness of Approach and Skills represent the expanded bio-psycho-social approach to the patient and family. A focus on Family Orientation with utilization of family systems models is an important component which also separates Family Practice from other medical disciplines. Another core component of Family Practice is the emphasis on Prevention.

With the changes in the health-care system, there is an increasing emphasis in medicine on the health care needs of populations and prevention of disease, promoting healthy life styles. As a result of this, Family Medicine and other primary care specialties such as general internal medicine and general pediatrics are gaining recognition among other medical specialties. Similarly, the Medical Care Model is changing, emphasizing skills in helping individuals, families and communities choose healthy life-styles. Cost effectiveness in diagnostic and therapeutic activities is emphasized. The doctor-patient relationship is becoming a more equal partnership resulting in a more active role being played by the patient in developing the diagnostic and therapeutic plan.


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2001 University of Minnesota Duluth School of Medicine