Primary-care practice is in need of a makeover to improve service and access and bolster physician satisfaction with their work, according to a new report by the New England Healthcare Institute.
The institute said that making changes to primary-care practice is crucial. As the U.S. population continues to age, the percentage of primary-care physicians has decreased from 50% of all doctors in 1950 to 30% in 2007, the institute said in its report, Remaking Primary Care: From Crisis to Opportunity. Fewer medical students are interested in primary care as well. "The forces of supply and demand highlighted by NEHI threaten the quality of primary care as physicians are pressured to see a 'revolving door' of patients," said Wendy Everett, president of the NEHI, in a written statement.
Reform in service delivery, care sites, reimbursement and education through the use of health information technology, pay-for-performance projects and new sites like retail clinics will help, the institute said in its findings. More focus on team training so that primary-care doctors are prepared to lead teams of nurses, assistants and other medical professionals will help them deliver more seamless care as well, according to the report.