Purpose: To assess obstetrician-gynecologists' perceptions of their residency training in primary care, document health issues assessed at annual visits, and identify practice patterns of both generalist and specialist obstetrician-gynecologists.
Method: Questionnaires were mailed to a random sample of 1,711 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Young Fellows in September 2005. Information was gathered on perceptions about adequacy of residency training, how well training prepared obstetrician-gynecologists for current practice, and typical practice patterns for various medical diagnoses. Data were analyzed using univariate analysis of variance, t tests, and chi-square tests.
Results: Of 935 respondents (55% response rate), physicians estimated that 37% of private, nonpregnant patients rely on them for routine primary care. Approximately 22% report that they needed additional primary care training, specifically for metabolism/nutrition and dermatologic, cardiovascular, and psychosexual disorders. A wide range of topics, except for immunizations, were typically discussed at annual visits. Patients with pulmonary diseases, vascular diseases, and nongenital cancers were most often referred to specialists, whereas patients with urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted infections, or who are menopausal are most often managed totally. Self-identification as a generalist or specialist was associated with some practice patterns. Respondents were neutral about the role of primary care in obstetrics-gynecology residency training.
Conclusions: For several primary care issues, obstetrician-gynecologists assumed sole management for obstetric patients but deferred to a primary care physician for gynecological patients. There is a continuing need for primary care training in obstetrics-gynecology residency, although it is unclear whether current training is adequate to meet their needs.