Some Radical New Approaches to Dealing with the Physician Shortage,
RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CALIF
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Current strategies for dealing with the medical manpower problem will not adequately break the constraints on the delivery of good quality medical care to the population. Doing more of what has been done in the past, as embodied for example in the plan to increase the number of medical students and physicians, will not itself be sufficient to provide the needed services. Instead, major changes must be created in the health care system based on exploitation of new technology and on a redefinition of the physicians role in the delivery system. Perhaps the most promising and familiar new strategy that has been proposed is one which envisions the wide use of allied health personnel such as physicians assistants. However, the doctor will still be left with a large number of repetitive tasks, many of which consume much of his time and which conceivably could be delegated to new classes of health care specialists. But categorical health care specialists, most of whom have to function under physician supervision, can have little impact in areas where physicians are not available. To close the health services gap in such areas, a new independent physicians associate has been proposed and experimental programs now underway suggest that this approach holds considerable promise.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations