E. HARVEY ESTES JR., M.D.
There is a growing deficit of physician services, primarily related to increased demands and changing patterns of practice rather than to decreased numbers, and there is a serious maldistribution of physician manpower. However, in some areas in which increased numbers of physicians have been produced, maldistribution problems remain unsolved. The overload of primary physicians is also decreasing the entry of new candidates into the field. Creation of new schools is not likely to meet the deficit; expansion of existing schools is less expensive and more rapid but still inadequate.
Increased individual physician productivity must be a major part of any solution. The use of assistants is an achievable and practical goal, as evidenced by early experience with the Duke Physician Assistant Program. The success of technical devices such as computers depends on production of skilled assistants capable of operating them. Part of the advantage of group practice and other organization modifications lies in their making possible more efficient use of assistants.
ESTES EH. The Critical Shortage—Physicians and Supporting Personnel. Ann Intern Med. ;69:957–962. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-69-5-957
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1968;69(5):957-962.
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