it was more about the hassles of primary care medicine and less about the how much money they would make that led students away from careers in primary care.
Matthew Mintz is one of the authors of a study explaining why medical students avoid primary care as a career choice.
In the study it turns out that money is an issue but more important is the gap between what we are forced to do every day and what we know we should be doing for our patients.
With packed schedules and ever increasing demands to ramp up 'productivity' combined with the ever increasing demand to justify details of the work to clerks we have a primary care workforce in professional penury.
Take a look at his post above to get an idea of how good caring docs get stuck in systems. I can sense his yearning for a practice environment that better supports the kind of care he's been trained to deliver.
His current position is probably pretty good and he may be able to do a lot for trainees and patients but I wonder what it would be like if he were able to practice in a truly supportive environment. I suspect the differences would be obvious and joyous not only for him and his patients, but for the trainees with whom he works.
Imagine that - a healthy and supportive work environment enabling great care. That directly addresses a main reason medical students gave for avoiding primary care. Now that's how I'd address the primary care physician shortage.
What would it take to create such an environment?
- Funding to support the full scope of work of effective primary care including the right technology and people (team)
- Elimination of the crushing distraction of administrative trivia that adds high cost and low value to health care
Some employed physicians have these things but most operate in systems that do not truly support the work. Most who seek this practice environment find it only in getting off the insurance hamster wheel.