Anemia is a common disorder that should be diagnosed and managed in a primary care setting. Iron deficiency and chronic disease anemia are two subtypes of insidious anemias that may be difficult to differentiate. There are often excessive laboratory studies performed, patient delays, and increased costs while completing the workup. With the rising cost of health care, a greater emphasis is being placed on managed care. This type of system utilizes its own resources in a cost-effective manner and encourages the investigation to be in the domain of the primary practitioner. As the nation focuses on this type of delivery system, outside referrals will be limited. Primary care providers as well as physicians in these types of settings will need to become well versed in the interpretation of these uncomplicated anemias. With appropriate training and experience in the interpretation of blood studies and peripheral smears, clinicians can effectively differentiate between these two classifications while easing the burden on the health care system.
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