Family Medicine Gets Renewed Focus

older african american man pouring pills from a prescription bottle into his hand( — The Council on Graduate Medical Education says primary care physicians account for 32 percent of all physicians nationwide. Of these, only 12.7 percent practice family medicine, down from 50 percent in 1961.

Although the number of medical school graduates entering family medicine rose slightly to 1,317 in 2011 from 1,184 in 2010, experts say there is a severe shortage of family physicians at a time when the population is aging and the number of people with health insurance is set to expand.

In response, Phelps Memorial Hospital Center in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., has rolled out a new family medicine residency program, which employs a patient-centered medical home model.

A patient-centered medical home includes family doctors and specialists collaborating on patient care and using electronic health records to track patient history and risk factors.

According to Open Door Family Medical Centers President Lindsay Farrell, “It’s not just about a smart doctor doing it all. It’s about a physician who works as a member of a team and can marshal all those resources to keep the patient healthy.”