The majority of medical students are choosing subspecialty practices rather than enrolling in primary care, contributing to the current primary care doctor shortage. According to a New York Times article, young doctors are attracted to the subspecialty lifestyle rather than the long hour life of a primary care practitioner. Many solutions are being debated but finding one to work long term is the challenge.
Dr. Peter Ubel, a practicing and passionate primary care physician, has a unique approach to solving this problem. In an article he wrote for Forbes, he addressed the issue being a shortage in primary care rather than primary care physicians. Dr. Ubel calls the solution the “anesthesiology model of practice,” which adopts the team aspect of the anesthesiology department where an anesthesiologist supervises the nurse anesthetist. A lot of procedures in this department are small and don’t require extensive supervision, so the anesthesiologist is able to be “present” in 4 or more operating rooms.
If we are able to get more nurse practitioners and physician assistants, the same can be achieved for primary care physicians. Read the rest of Dr. Ubel’s article, check out the 2012 Physician Shortages in the US Report, and tell us what you think should happen to put a halt to the primary care shortage.