Long Waits and the Primary Care Shortage
So every Thursday, I’m going to try to post links to articles I’ve found interesting over the week with the occasional thoughts. (I know it’s already Saturday this week, running a little behind already). So here we go.
1. “How to Head Off Long Waits for the Doctor” I spent some time shadowing at a community health center, doing family medicine. One of the thing that really stood out to me was that we always seemed to be running behind. Appointments were set up in either 10 or 20 minute blocks but I rarely felt like we met either of them. I think there is a tension between keeping appointments close to on time and giving patients as much time as they need. The doctor I was with definitely fell on the side of giving patients as much time as they needed (within reason). Anyways, the article makes some suggestions for dealing with it from the patient side, but they don’t seem like solutions that would accomplish a whole lot. I don’t have any solutions, myself, but the article is an interesting look at a problem facing patients and doctors.
2. “Why Medical School Should Be Free” This is an interesting op-ed piece linking medical school debt to the shortage of primary care physicians. As someone who has a lot of debt already, and so much more to come with medical school, I definitely understand its point. There is certainly pressure to pursue higher-paying specialties when it can mean paying off student loans years earlier.
3. “Medical school debt only partially explains the primary care shortage” Kevinmd.com posted this response to #2. It recognizes Dr. Chen’s argument, but proposes that a larger part of the primary care shortage is caused by high tuition costs deterring underrepresented minorities and students from lower socioeconomic statuses. A very interesting complement to #2.
4. “When specialists try to practice primary care” Following the primary care them, this is another kevinmd.com piece. It makes a nice argument for placing greater value on generalism.