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June 1961

Insurance Principles and the Medical Profession: A Combined Book Review and Remarks in Criticism of Gun-Barrel Vision

Author Affiliations

200 Berkeley St. Boston

Arch Intern Med. 1961;107(6):803-807. doi:10.1001/archinte.1961.03620060003002

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Life Insurance and Medicine: The Prognosis and Underwriting of Disease. Edited by Harry E. Ungerleider and Richard S. Gubner. Springfield, Ill., Charles C Thomas, Publisher, 1958, 962 pages.

Health Insurance. By Edwin J. Faulkner. New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1960, 621 pages.

The old chestnut about a specialist being a person who "knows more and more about less and less" is acquiring a new significance. There is a growing tendency to apply it in many areas other than medical teaching, research, or practice. In politics, economics, sociology, or diplomacy the handy approach seems to be that if you can assemble enough specialists you can solve any problem. While the advantages and values of specialization are undeniable, certain adverse effects become evident when there is too much emphasis on it in practical application.

For the medical profession the present remarks are unrelated to clinical specialization, or even to circumscribed skills

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