Overhaul of Physician Education System Recommended
3. Trainees must enter practice trained to use new healthcare technologies safely and efficiently. "Advances in medical diagnostics, therapeutics, and information technology can significantly improve health outcomes. However, we have fallen short in consistently using technology optimally to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare," the panel writes.
4. The next generation of physicians must help lower costs and be more efficient. "Physicians in training must understand the financial implications of their patient management decisions, and their training must include new and efficient models of care so that they will be prepared to practice cost-effective medicine and be responsible stewards of resources while providing high-quality patient care," the report says.
However, to change the graduate medical system, medical educators face many obstacles, including the growing tension between work-hour restrictions and competition for curricular time and non-educational tasks. Another important obstacle is the difficulty in persuading sufficient numbers of medical students to choose primary care.
"In the past decade, the number of residents in subspecialty training has risen five times faster than the number of residents in the core specialties (those representing primary board certification). The number of residents expected to practice primary care has declined by more than 10%," the report notes.
The panel was chaired by Debra Weinstein, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Vice President for Graduate Medical Education for Partners Healthcare System, Inc.
Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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