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MKSAP 11 expands coverage of practical primary care

From the October 1997 ACP Observer, copyright 1997 by the American College of Physicians.

When the College releases MKSAP 11 later this month, internists will find that the newest version of MKSAP has increased its focus on primary care internal medicine and has expanded its coverage of common practice problems and managed care.

Editor-in-chief John H. Holbrook, FACP, said that with a number of subspecialty MKSAPs now available, the time was right to target the information needs of general internists. Dr. Holbrook, himself a general internist in Salt Lake City, Utah, talked with ACP Observer about some of those changes.

Q: What changes will users notice?

A: The most important change that we made was to develop a new primary care section. I look upon MKSAP 11 as a kind of a watershed as far as general internal medicine is concerned. The section takes into account the intellectual and practice domain of general internists, including the demands of managed care, of seeing more patients, and of having to do more than they were trained to do.

We also encouraged editors to be very pragmatic, to ask themselves "In the current practice environment, is this information important? Or is this something that an academician might have an intellectual interest in, but it has little practical value to the physician seeing patients?"

We asked the authors and their committee members to avoid writing another textbook containing stable, "boilerplate" information. Rather, the MKSAP 11 text emphasizes updated core and cutting-edge material.

Q: What has stayed the same?

A: The questions-and-answers section is the core of MKSAP and has been well-liked by physicians over the years. If you read a case, a clinical vignette—you think, "Oh, I had a patient like that," and then you work through the question. When you turn to check your answer, not only is the right answer noted, but there is also an explanation. The correct option is discussed in detail, and then there's a brief discussion about why each of the incorrect options is wrong.

That's a really important part of this product with which doctors can identify, because it's what they spend their lives doing. They can work through the booklet and find a lot of things that they encounter in practice.

Q: Who should use MKSAP 11?

A: Residents who are preparing for their first board examination have always used this product, and I think they'll continue to find it very helpful. There are some subspecialists who want to start doing more general medicine, and this would be an easy way for them to look at areas where they're feeling like they're not up to speed. Finally, general internists preparing for recertification will also find this a useful product.

MKSAP 11 is scheduled to be released Oct. 24 . The cost for ACP members is $310 for the print or electronic version, or $520 for the combined print/electronic version. Information: ACP Customer Service at 800-523-1546, ext. 2600.

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