Colin P. West, M.D., Ph.D., and Denise M. Dupras, M.D., Ph.D., of Mayo Clinic conducted a study to evaluate career plans of internal medicine residents. Their study, recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, fuels concerns that there will be a shortage of primary care doctors available when patients need them most.
The authors found that among internal medicine residents, only 21.5 percent said they expect to go into internal medicine or primary care with the rest planning on fields like cardiology or dermatology. The study showed that women were more likely than men to go into general medicine, and that U.S. medical school graduates were slightly more likely to opt for a career in internal medicine than international graduates.
“The concern many of us have is that as the baby boomers get older and demand continues to increase, it is going to become progressively more difficult for these patients to find physicians,” said Dr. West in a recent Bloomberg article. “This could be a barrier to achieving the main goal of health reform of creating greater access to health care.”
In the video below, Dr. West discusses the study and its implications.