Overview of Primary Care Informatics
The middle-aged family physician (FP) entered the exam room to see Alicia Jones, a 47-year-old female patient. He had provided care for Ms. Jones intermittently for years, so he was not too disturbed when Ms. Jones’s chart could not be located (a situation that occurred several times each day in his practice). Her presenting complaint concerned a cough that produced blood. The history indicated that, within the 2 days prior to the visit, she had a morning cough that produced “several drops” of blood each day. The patient was a nonsmoker. After a physical examination of the lungs that was unremarkable, Ms. Jones was sent to the imaging center for a chest X ray. A short while later, the radiologist called the FP stating, “It looks like widespread lung metastases from the breast cancer we found on the mammogram 2 years ago. We will send the patient back up to your office so that you can talk with her about it.”
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