[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
August 27, 1973

Semantic Problems Slow Progress of Family Practice

Author Affiliations

San Jose, Calif

JAMA. 1973;225(9):1113. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220370051015

Even though the Family Practice Movement appears to be gaining momentum, faster progress might be made were it not for at least two problems in semantics. One was described in an article1 and an editorial2 in a March 1971 issue of The Journal, the latter entitled "General Practice vs Family Practice." If one had confidence that this issue had been resolved, he would be dismayed on reading a discussion published recently3 during which the general practitioner on the panel maintained he cared for families in the same manner as the one who professed to be a family physician.

Most authorities agree that many general practitioners are now functioning well as family physicians in spite of not having been provided formal education specifically for this role. In a recent academic commentary,4 I. R. McWhinney gives reasons for adopting the new terms but adds: "The fact that we have