Primary care - as we know it - is under siege from a number of trends in healthcare delivery, resulting in loss of physician autonomy, disrupted continuity of care and potential erosion of professional values (Rastegar 2004; Future of Family Medicine Project Leadership Committee 2004). The halcyon days of medicine as a craft guild with a monopoly on (1) technical knowledge and (2) the means of implementation, reached its zenith in the mid-twentieth century and has been under pressure ever since (Starr 1982; Schlesinger 2002). While this is a trend within the US health system, it is likely to affect other delivery systems in the years ahead.
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