Beyond the Specialist: The Growing Importance of Thought Leadership in Primary Care, Allied Health Professions
January 12, 2012 · Leave a comment
By Brian Castle and Kristen Smithwick
When most people think about thought leaders in medicine, specialists in oncology, neurology, rheumatology and other therapeutic areas immediately come to mind. However, with the proliferation of illnesses and conditions ranging from diabetes and obesity to asthma, gastrointestinal diseases and psychiatric disorders, key opinion leaders in primary care and allied health professions are more important than ever.
In addition to the growing incidence of several “lifestyle” conditions, the structure of U.S. healthcare dictates that people suffering in these areas see their primary care physicians (PCPs), nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and pharmacists with much greater frequency than their specialists. As a result, more PCPs and allied health professionals are joining their specialist colleagues in all of the critical areas that define thought leadership, including publishing, basic and clinical research, clinical practice, speaking, and advocacy involvement.
Thought Leader Select has conducted multiple assessments of thought leader populations in a variety of therapeutic areas, with particular attention to the impact of PCPs, also known as general practitioners, in areas of treatment as diverse as diabetes, allergies, infectious disease, and gastrointestinal conditions. Primary care physicians, along with their nurse practitioner (NP), physician assistant (PA), and registered nurse colleagues, consistently distinguish themselves in many of the traditional areas of thought leadership once assumed to be the domain of specialists and sub-specialists.
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