Fewer Medical Students Considering Primary Care

Shortage of family doctors looms: study
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Sep 10, 2008 5:06 PM CDT
Just 2% of students said they plan to work in primary care internal medicine. That's down from 9% from a similar survey in 1990.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Just 2% of graduating medical students say they plan to work in primary care, forecasting a shortage of doctors who coordinate care and keep costs low, the AP reports. And it’s not just higher pay luring them away: They fear the paperwork and increased workload. Primary-care doctors must “speed to see enough patients to make a reasonable living,” says a radiology resident.

International students are filling the looming gap: 42% of family-medicine residencies are held by US students, compared to 94% of orthopedic-surgery slots. Lack of student interest will probably reduce primary-care programs at US teaching hospitals, a Dartmouth doctor predicts. Meanwhile, the cost of American medical schools soared another 8% in the past year.