Medical schools scramble to boost PCP numbers

June 10, 2013

More than 76% of medical schools have launched or are planning to build at least one initiative to increase interest in primary care specialties.

 

More than 76% of medical schools have launched or are planning to build at least one initiative to increase interest in primary care specialties.

And while recently released Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) data note a slight increase in enrollment of first-year medical students in both MD and DO programs, some physicians question whether the increases have been too little too late as demand for primary care physicians (PCPs) escalates.

 “Amid expected shortages of PCPs,” the AAMC report says, “schools are implementing policies and programs designed to encourage student interest in primary care.”

To help stave off the anticipated shortage of 90,000 PCPs by 2020, medical schools have been increasing enrollment steadily and are on pace to hit projections by 2017 with 21,434 first-year medical students. Whether or not those new doctors will enter the primary care ranks is another matter entirely.

In the AAMC survey, medical school administrators also report concern over the numbers of clinical training spots for students.

“Respondents are concerned about the number of sites, the supply of both primary care and specialty preceptors and competition for clinical training sites.”

AAMC is collaborating with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, and the Physician Assistant Education Association to explore these issues in greater detail.