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The table of truth

A primary refers to the main person or team taking care of a patient, particularly in the inpatient setting.

Who Can Be Primary?

Technically, any one of the numerous medical and surgical subspecialties can be primary.[1]

Who Should Be Primary?

More often than not: Medicine.[2]

Can a Primary Service Sign Off a Patient?

Technically no, but we're pretty sure some have tried.[3]

Related Terms


  1. History Made as Orthopedic Surgery Takes Patient as Primary (European Femur Journal)
  2. Infographic: Who Should Really Be Primary? (Gomerblog)
  3. Jealous of All the Consultants Who Signed Off, Primary Team Decides to Sign Off Too (Gomerblog)

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