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Physician Shortage Continues


With a new survey reporting more than 150,000 primary care doctors are expected to reduce the number of patients they see or stop practicing altogether within the next three years, hospitalist programs need to focus on their retention rates, one hospital medicine group leader says.

"In this industry, we need to do more to make sure people realize that this is a career platform, and not just a placeholder for them to move on to another job," says Adam Singer, MD, CEO and CMO of IPC: The Hospitalist Company. "We're seeing a lot of this in hospitals. A lot of people use this as a one-year job in order to get a fellowship, and so we are seeing that a large percentage of the doctors that actually come, leave in order to go on to another career."

To increase retention, HM programs need to make sure young doctors in residency are better educated about the benefits of hospital medicine, such as higher incomes and the exciting short-term, high-impact relationships that appeal to young physicians, Dr. Singer says. Additionally, HM needs to advocate more medical school slots to assist in the creation of more physicians, he says.

The survey, "The Physicians' Perspective: Medical Practice in 2008," was released Nov. 18 by The Physician's Foundation. Additional findings include:

• 76% of physicians said they are either at "full capacity" or "overextended and overworked;"

• 45% said they would retire today if they had the financial means; and

• 60% would not recommend medicine as a career to young people.

For more information on the survey, visit

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