The list of problems with primary care today is long and long-standing. Patients are frustrated and confused. Providers feel pressure to see more patients even as their reimbursements go down. Medical schools push students toward hospital-based sub-specialties. And for those who choose primary care, the training neglects important new skills, such as working in a team and engaging patients in their own care.
All this as the nation prepares for a spike in demand for primary care providers – fueled by millions of patients newly-insured through the Affordable Care Act – and a drop in supply due to retirements in the aging physician workforce and the unpopularity of the specialty, according to four panelists at Health Journalism 2013.
“I hate to be a downer,” said Andrew Morris-Singer, M.D., president and principal founder of Primary Care Progress. “We do have profound problems in the primary care pipeline.”
Solving the problem boils down to making essential changes to the way primary care providers do business, the panelists agreed.
These practices of the future – some of which already are operating – emphasize engaging patients, using technology, and distributing patient care across a primary care team. Continue reading