Primary Care: Proposed Solutions To The Physician Shortage Without Training More Physicians

National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education's picture
Submitted by National Center... on Mar 9, 2015 - 4:27pm CDT

Resource Type: 
Journal Article

The adult primary care “physician shortage” is more accurately portrayed as a gap between the adult population’s demand for primary care services and the capacity of primary care, as currently delivered, to meet that demand. Given current trends, producing more adult primary care clinicians will not close the demand-capacity gap. However, primary care capacity can be greatly increased without many more clinicians: by empowering licensed personnel, including registered nurses and pharmacists, to provide more care; by creating standing orders for nonlicensed health personnel, such as medical assistants, to function as panel managers and health coaches to address many preventive and chronic care needs; by increasing the potential for more patient self-care; and by harnessing technology to add capacity.

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Thomas S. Bodenheimer
Mark D. Smith
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