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Primary Care Technicians A Solution To The Primary Care Workforce Gap

Author: Arthur L. Kellermann, John W. Saultz, Ateev Mehrotra, Spencer S. Jones, Siddartha Dalal
$15.00

Efforts to close the primary care workforce gap typically employ one of three basic strategies: train more primary care physicians; boost the supply of nurse practitioners or physician assistants, or both; or use community health workers to extend the reach of primary care physicians. In this article we briefly review each strategy and the barriers to its success. We then propose a new approach adapted from the widely accepted model of emergency medical services. Translating this model to primary care and leveraging the capabilities of modern health information technology, it should be possible to create primary care technicians who can dramatically expand the impact and reach of patient-centered medical homes by providing basic preventive, minor illness, and stable chronic disease care in rural and resource-deprived communities.

Efforts to close the primary care workforce gap typically employ one of three basic strategies: train more primary care physicians; boost the supply of nurse practitioners or physician assistants, or both; or use community health workers to extend the reach of primary care physicians. In this article we briefly review each strategy and the barriers to its success. We then propose a new approach adapted from the widely accepted model of emergency medical services. Translating this model to primary care and leveraging the capabilities of modern health information technology, it should be possible to create primary care technicians who can dramatically expand the impact and reach of patient-centered medical homes by providing basic preventive, minor illness, and stable chronic disease care in rural and resource-deprived communities.

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