Do We Really Need More Physicians?

Responses to Predicted Primary Care Physician Shortages

Published in: Medical Care, v. 52, no. 2, Feb. 2014, p. 95-96

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2013

by Peggy G. Chen, Ateev Mehrotra, David I. Auerbach

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Predicted primary care shortages have spurred action to increase the number of primary care physicians. However, simply increasing the number of primary care providers is not the only solution to resolving the imbalance between the supply of primary care physicians and the demand for primary care services. In this point-counterpoint, we highlight the limitations of existing primary care shortage predictions and discuss strategies to deliver primary care services without necessarily increasing the number of primary care physicians for a given population. Innovative solutions can be used to reduce or even eliminate projected primary care shortages while changing the prevailing paradigm of primary care.

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