In their utilization of medical services, medical students are different from other groups in the general population. The objective of this study was to evaluate the phenomenon of 'hallway medicine' among medical students. Hallway medicine is defined as informal and inappropriate self-referrals to specialists without prior consultation with a family physician (or other primary care provider) and without adequate medical record keeping or follow-up. The study population consisted of 219 medical students who completed anonymous questionnaires in the classroom or during clinical clerkships on hospital wards. All the students had medical insurance (provided by this county's insuring sick funds) and easy access to medical services, but many preferred to use hallway medicine. During the study period of one year, 33% of the students made an informal self-referral to doctors working in the hospital, without a referral letter from their primary care physician. Students in their clinical years of study used hallway medicine significantly more than did preclinical students (50% vs 21%, respectively). Medical students spend years learning how to treat patients, but little time on how best to attend to their own medical needs. We conclude that an institutionalized health care service for medical students could reduce ethical, health, legal, psychosocial, and economic problems stemming from the common practice of inappropriate use of medical consultation by medical students.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Education for Health: Change in Learning and Practice|
|State||Published - 9 Apr 1999|