When there is no doctor: Reasons for the disappearance of primary careÂ physicians in the US during the early 21st century
Primary care doctoring in the USA today (2007) bears little resemblance to what existed just 25 years ago. We focus on what is likely to unfold in the U.S. over the next several decades and suggest that by about 2025, primary care doctoring in the U.S. could be rare, possibly unrecognizable and even nonexistent. Seven reasons for the probable disappearance of primary care doctoring are identified. The most important reason is medicine's loss of state sponsorship: the U.S. state has shifted from a pluralistic orientation to a New Right approach. With less state protection medicine has become even more attractive for private interests. Six additional reasons include: (1) the epidemiologic transition (chronic diseases reduce doctors to a palliative role and monitoring of incurable conditions); (2) the overcrowded health care playing field (non-physician clinicians are supplanting primary care doctors); (3) the unintended consequences of clinical guidelines (the art of doctoring is reduced to formulaic tasks, easily codified and performed by non-physician clinicians); (4) the demise of the in-person examination (in-person examination is being replaced by impersonal testing); (5) primary care doctoring is becoming unattractive (physicians are dissatisfied, alienated and experiencing income declines. Applications by U.S. graduates to primary care programs continue to decline); (6) patients are not what they used to be (Internet access and Direct to Consumer advertising are changing the doctor-patient relationship). By 2025, many everyday illnesses in the U.S. will be managed via the Internet or by non-physician clinicians working out of retail clinics. Some medical problems will still require a physician's attention, but this will be provided by specialists rather than by primary care doctors (general practitioners).
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 67 (2008)
Issue (Month): 10 (November)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description|
|Order Information:|| Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/regional|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- repec:mpr:mprres:3869 is not listed on IDEAS
- David Cutler & Ellen Meara, 2001. "Changes in the Age Distribution of Mortality Over the 20th Century," NBER Working Papers 8556, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Murray, Joanna & Shepherd, Simon, 1993. "Alternative or additional medicine? An exploratory study in general practice," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 983-988, October.
- Potter, Sharyn J. & McKinlay, John B., 2005. "From a relationship to encounter: an examination of longitudinal and lateral dimensions in the doctor-patient relationship," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 465-479, July.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:67:y:2008:i:10:p:1481-1491. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.