Number of American medical students who become full-time primary care physicians reaches record highs

The number of American medical students who become full-time primary care physicians has reached a record high, figures show.


Experts believe that graduates are put off by wages, which is half that of higher earners in various medical departments, such as orthopedic doctors.

In general there are more vacancies than ever before, but only three in five were filled this year, according to a report.

A shortage of doctors is predicted within the next decade, amid an aging population with multiple chronic conditions.

Graduates use the National Resident Matching Program – known as & # 39; the Match & # 39; – to find a position in their field.

The number of American medical students who become full-time primary care physicians has reached a record high, figures show

The number of American medical students who become full-time primary care physicians has reached a record high, figures show


The competition awards a residency program based on how the applicant and the program assessed each other after an interview process.

This year the number of positions was the lowest on record, steadily decreasing since 2011, according to data from The Match analyzed by Kaiser Health News.

The three most important primary care fields are internal medicine, general practitioner medicine and pediatrics.

This year 8,116 internal medicine positions were available, the highest number ever registered.

Only 41.5 percent of the positions were filled by fourth-year students, according to the 2019 Match report, with similar trends in family medicine and pediatrics.

A crisis in personnel across the board is predicted by the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The expectation is that by 2032 nationwide between 21,100 and 55,200 positions for primary care physicians will not be filled.


Mona Signer, chief executive officer of The Match, said: & I think part of it has to do with income. Specialties in primary care are not the highest paying ones. & # 39;


Doctors may benefit from the use of medical students as scribes, research by Cabrini Hospital in Malvern's suburb of Melbourne.

A writer stands by a patient's bedside and documents details of the consultation, arranges tests and print paperwork – allowing the physicians to concentrate on handling the problem in question.

A study comparing the use of scribes in 589 shifts with 3,296 shifts without admin support showed that the number of patients who saw a doctor every hour increased by 15.9 percent.

Scribes also reduced the amount of time the average patient spent in the emergency department of a hospital by 19 minutes.


After performing a cost-benefit analysis, the researchers claim that hiring scribes in hospitals is in a & # 39; favorable financial position & # 39; places.

From November 2015 to January this year, the researchers analyzed the use of 12 scribes in five emergency departments in public and private hospitals in the state of Victoria.

The results showed that the scribes increased doctors' productivity by 15.9 percent from an average of 1.13 patients per hour per medicine to 1.31.

It also improved the number of primary consultations – where the medic is the most important physician supervising the patient – by 25.6 percent from 0.83 to 1.04 patients per hour.

In January 2017, the authors, led by Dr. Katie Walker, write in the BMJ: & # 39; Given the strong preference of physicians for working with a writer, this has no effect on patient experience, minimal risk and outlined productivity and transit.


& # 39; Emergency care and hospital administrators must take into account the potential local utility of scribes in their personnel and financial planning. & # 39;

Internal medicine doctors earn an average of $ 243,000 (£ 194,840) a year, slightly more than half of what the highest earners, orthopedic doctors, earn with an average annual salary of $ 482,000 (£ 386,470), according to reports by doctors at Medscape.

Family medicine and pediatrics even earn less than internal medicine, $ 231,000 (£ 185,215) and $ 225,000 (£ 180,400) per year, respectively.

Ms. Signer also said that the university influences the choice: & # 39; Many medical schools are part of academic medical centers where research and specialization are a priority. & # 39;

The pressure of admin work and unbridled burnout is also unpleasant.


Eight out of ten doctors spend up to 10 hours a week filling in digitized paperwork, according to a Medscape study.

Only 62 percent of internal medicine doctors said they would choose to go back into their specialty because of the administrative hassle. This is the lowest registered percentage for all the doctor's specialties studied.

Dr. Eric Hsieh, internal medicine program director at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, said: & I don't think people realize how involved electronic medical records are.

& # 39; You have to synthesize everything and coordinate all care. And something that I see with the residents in our program is that it frustrates the time spent on electronic health records instead of caring for patients. & # 39;

Elsa Pearson, health policy analyst at the University of Boston, said hiring more nurses or assistants to relieve pressure on primary care physicians may keep them interested in the job.

The situation in the US reflects that of the desperate shortage of general practitioners in Britain, with many doctors turning their back on their profession before they start.

Increasing demands and a pension plan that taxes the highest incomes ensures that many others retire early or save hours.

Figures show that although the number of medical students in the US is decreasing first-line care physicians, the osteopathic and foreign-trained physicians who are trained in the US are increasingly aligned.

This year is the first year in which the percentage of osteopathic and doctors trained abroad is the percentage & # 39; matching & # 39; of trained doctors.

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