Quaternary prevention, an answer of family doctors to overmedicalization

Int J Health Policy Manag. 2015 Feb 4;4(2):61-4. doi: 10.15171/ijhpm.2015.24. eCollection 2015 Feb.


In response to the questioning of Health Policy and Management (HPAM) by colleagues on the role of rank and file family physicians in the same journal, the author, a family physician in Belgium, is trying to highlight the complexity and depth of the work of his colleagues and their contribution to the understanding of the organization and economy of healthcare. It addresses, in particular, the management of health elements throughout the ongoing relationship of the family doctor with his/her patients. It shows how the three dimensions of prevention, clearly included in the daily work, are complemented with the fourth dimension, quaternary prevention or prevention of medicine itself, whose understanding could help to control the economic and human costs of healthcare.

Keywords: Clinical; Ethics; Family; Medicalization; Physicians; Physician’s Role; Preventive Medicine.