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Overhaul of Physician Education System Recommended

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, September 12, 2011

The nation's system for training physicians is in dramatic need of a complete overhaul to adequately provide future patient care, says a report from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, which issued 14 recommendations to make that happen.

"Although notable changes have occurred in graduate medical education (GME) over the past decade, including the introduction of a competency-based framework and limitations on duty hours, many people feel that much broader reforms are needed to keep pace," says the 39-member panel that authored the report.

The panel, consisting of physicians and surgeons as well as medical school deans and faculty members, said the nation will be short more than 100,000 doctors by the middle of the next decade, in part because of the current system's entrenched ways of educating and assuring the quality of the physician workforce.

"Unless we in academic medicine are self-critical and show a willingness to change, the political and public support for graduate medical education will disappear," warns Macy President George Thibault, MD, in a statement. "This is a huge enterprise built on tradition, but the system has to change to be more responsive to public needs."

One of panel’s key recommendations is that medical education should shift from gauging competency by months and years of training to actual measurements of individual physicians' readiness for independent practice. This is because medical school residents "vary significantly in how quickly they achieve competency, yet the current system of training all residents for a fixed duration fails to recognize or accommodate this reality."

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4 comments on "Overhaul of Physician Education System Recommended"


ECPat (9/19/2011 at 8:46 PM)
Good, but short, story about the need for more primary care physicians, though it isn't that clear that it's mostly primary care physicians that we need.

jeff mimbs (9/17/2011 at 4:03 AM)
quite possibly the dumbest article I've ever read...social engineering from the top....smells and sounds like communism I'll stick with my doctor who with years of training and sheer determination learns his craft and tries his best to do the right thing everyday...these bubbleheads need to go

Al Winston (9/13/2011 at 8:47 AM)
Perhaps one of the stupidest articles on here. A shortage of physicians? Really? The laws of supply and demand reveal that the markedly dropping reimbursement rates for physicians suggests a surplus of MDs, and this "shortage" claimed in the article is nonsense generated by third party payers wanting even MORE market competition so they can drop reimbursements even more. There is no shortage, there will be no shortage. In fact, most articles in the papers strongly suggest we OVERtreat in this country to create business for all the health care professionals we have. Lastly, the panel of 39 idiots claiming 'reform is needed' have no evidence that this is true; they have produced no outcomes measures to prove there's a deficiency in our educational system. Rather, they generate busy-work for 'reform' to justify their own jobs. This article is an embarrassment to your site.