The Washington Post: A Different Kind of Care Package

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Doctors in training visit patients in their homes to learn about the intractable factors that can shape a person's health, such as where they live, what they eat, and what social supports they have.

Doctors in training visit patients in their homes to learn about the intractable factors that can shape a person’s health, such as where they live, what they eat, and what social supports they have.

U.S. health care is in a revolution that is starting to shake up one of the most conservative parts of medicine: its antiquated model for training doctors.

Once paid a la carte for the procedures and services they perform, physicians are beginning to be reimbursed for keeping their patients healthy. Doctors trained in the science of medicine, the diagnosis and treatment of the sick person in front of them, are increasingly responsible for helping to keep their patients out of the hospital, reports The Washington Post (Johnson, 10/8).

The American Medical Association is worried enough about the problem that it has been giving out millions of dollars to prod new kinds of teaching, in the hope that doctors’ training can adapt as quickly as the system they will soon join, according to the article.

Here is an excerpt:

[A tectonic shift can’t hang on the success of a handful of bold start-ups, and in 2013, the American Medical Association gave $11 million in grants to medical schools making changes that would narrow the gap between how physicians are trained and how medicine is practiced. This year, the AMA decided to extend the program to hand out an additional $1.5 million.

Penn State was one of the grant recipients and last year rolled out the patient navigator program. First-year students pair up and make home visits, where they are faced with problems that can be far more difficult than figuring out which tests to give and what to prescribe. Students learn about the intractable factors that can shape a person’s health — where he lives, what he eats, what social supports he has — essentially, his life.]

Read entire article.