Weill Cornell drills the new ethos into students at every turn. The course that Mr. Singh is taking, Interprofessional Training and Education at Cornell-Hunter, trains medical and other students to value each other's expertise and to work in teams.
Patient-centered care is now the mantra, and personal skills will carry financial reward. In other courses, students, who will be judged on their bedside manner, are learning how to talk to patients and families about once-taboo subjects such as end-of-life care.
"If care is to be transformed, that can't happen unless we transform the process of training physicians," said Carol Aschenbrener, chief medical education officer of the American Association of Medical Colleges.
The looming physician shortage is also changing the med-school landscape. A national shortage of 92,000 primary-care physicians is expected by 2020 as an estimated 30 million more patients become insured under Obamacare. Weill Cornell is looking at whether it can expand its student roster to help meet the shortage and is shifting more clinical work into the first and second years, the better to meld the science with patient care.
NYU Langone has a new three-year path to an M.D. in addition to its traditional four-year school. The fast-tracked program will save a year's worth of tuition and living expenses, around $75,000, and allow students to start caring for patients sooner. One hope is that by relieving them of some of the financial burden and the time commitment, more students will go into lower-paid primary care.
NYU is designing its joint degrees in public health, business and public administration to focus on training doctors to manage new kinds of care organizations. Already, the M.B.A.-M.D. program is oversubscribed, said Dr. Steve Abramson, vice dean for education, faculty and academic affairs.
"Obamacare is moving to accountable-care organizations or medical homes," he said. "We think physicians should be the leaders of these organizations."
Sessions on physician pay and organization, cost control and health policy, a mainstay at Weill Cornell for several years, now include Obamacare primers on topics such as reimbursement and electronic records.
"We're asking them to be experts in health care reform and to learn how to work as a team because we're looking now at integrated medicine, not fragmented care," said Weill Cornell Dean Laurie Glimcher. "There are a finite number of health care dollars, and you've got to have the wisdom and the training and the courage to utilize them most effectively."