Purpose: To evaluate the outcomes of combined internal medicine and pediatrics (IMP) residency programs using the published literature.
Method: A literature search was conducted using Medline. Published articles were categorized as research or non-research (commentary, program requirements, program descriptions). Research articles were summarized and the results grouped under ten outcome variables.
Results: Of the 32 articles located, 18 were research articles, of which only four had been published since 1993. All the research conducted was cross-sectional and most involved surveys of program directors (seven studies) or graduates (four studies). At the time the studies were conducted, 20-33% of IMP residents did not complete their combined training; attrition rates have not been documented recently. Approximately 80% of IMP graduates achieved certification in both specialties, one third subspecialized to some degree, and 80% provided care to both adults and children. One fourth of the graduates felt that more training was needed in ambulatory settings and less was needed in intensive care. Very few studies of the outcomes of IMP physicians were found.
Conclusion: The outcomes of IMP residency programs are important for health workforce policy, and this study documents a need for more extensive research on the outcomes of training programs for primary care physicians.