Report: Primary care model needs update

Existing primary care practice models don't seem to be working for anyone involved. That's the conclusion drawn by a new report from the New England Healthcare Institute, which concluded that without a makeover, physician satisfaction is likely to remain low and service spotty.

Given that primary-care doctors made up only 30 percent of all physicians in 2007, as opposed to 50 percent in 1950, it's clear that there's a problem, the report said. With fewer PCPs to see patients, the ones that remain have to work faster and end up liking their work less, which then drives them out of the specialty. It's a downward spiral, they suggest.

The Institute recommends changes linked to changes in service delivery, new reimbursement models and education through the use of health IT. It also contends that pay-for-performance projects and delivering care at new sites, like retail clinics, could invigorate doctors.

The report also suggests that there should be a greater focus on team training, helping PCPs prepare to lead groups of nurses, assistants and other professionals to help them deliver better-coordinated care.

To learn more about the report:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)

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