Last Friday marked not only the largest Match Day in history, involving more than 40,000 registrants, but also the fourth straight year of the residency-matching program placing increased numbers of medical school graduates into training positions in primary care, USA Today reported.
The reasons for the increased interest in internal medicine, family medicine and pediatrics, according to Medpage Today, can be attributed to both increased competition in specialties, as well as the heavy emphasis on primary care brought on by the impending implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
In family medicine, for example, the total number of residency spots filled was 1,374, up 39 percent from 2012, Medical Economics noted. "The trend indicates students' awareness of family physicians' importance in patient care and a greater appreciation for the role they will play in a reformed healthcare system that includes models of care such as the Patient-Centered Medical Home," Jeffrey Cain, M.D., president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, told ME.
Other trends of this year's Match program include:
- 3,135 students matched to internal medicine, an increase of 194 over last year
- 1,837 students matched to pediatrics, an increase of 105 over last year
- 2,677 students came from osteopathic schools, an increase of 317 over 2012
- Three new medical schools graduated their first senior classes, adding about 1,000 applicants to the Match program
But despite the uptick in filled primary care positions--1,502 more positions than in 2012--experts warn the predicted shortage of primary care providers will remain unless the number of federally funded residencies increases from levels frozen since 1997, FierceHealthcare noted.