Dramatic changes on health-care horizon

Posted: November 1, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Web Link: http://www.tulsaworld.com/article.aspx/Dramatic_changes_on_health_care_horizon/20130707_211_G1_Amongt234659
Although not a new dilemma, physician shortages are becoming more alarming with the Affordable Healthcare Act roll-out on the horizon. More patients will be able to access health insurance and will therefore begin to seek out medical care but without an increase to the supply of physicians, where will the patients go? One solution that has been proposed is efficiency. This is probably the most challenging task in any practice. This is a win-win, if handled correctly. Workflow and production times need to be measured and accounted for in the implementation of a new design that will allow for accomplishing these goals. This solution would allow the same number of physicians to see a greater number of patients. This is not the only problem though.

A recent study in the state of Oklahoma addressed these concerns. When broken down, physician shortages can be explained by the increasing numbers of baby-boomers requiring medical support and by the increasing age of the medical community. 41% of Oklahoman physicians are over the age of 55.
We are seeing a trend of more patients and less physicians. It is implied that if we are unable to service those who are newly insured, does this negate the mandated insurance in the first place.

Oklahoma and many other states have begun to offer some financial incentives for physicians that are willing to practice in underserved areas although these incentives may need to be increased. More emphasis is being shed on Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners that can perform like duties but require less education time.

It is widely agreed that we have a shortage of physicians that is continuing to increase and that, along with the implementation of the ACA, many measures being used to combat this continued decline may take some time. Being vigilant of the need for more medical professionals and promoting quality patient care can be challenging. Our present focus should remain on efficient practices and quality care.


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