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May 12, 2015

Postgraduate Education of PhysiciansProfessional Self-regulation and External Accountability

Author Affiliations
  • 1Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Cambridge, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2015;313(18):1803-1804. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.4048

For most physicians, training inculcates a professional identity in which self-reliance and accountability to self are bedrock. “This is your patient,” is the message, “and you are responsible for your patient. Period!” Those words connect to the very definition of profession as articulated in 1970 by Freidson: “A profession is a work group that retains to itself the right to judge the quality of its own work.”1 Society cedes that right to the profession on the basis of 3 assumptions: (1) that the profession commits to putting the interests of those it serves before its own interests; (2) that the profession has technical knowledge and capacity not accessible to laypeople; and (3) that the profession will regulate itself.

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