Resident Education in a Time of Health Care Reform- Editorial
All one hears in the news today is the ongoing unified cry for health care reform:
A) to remove waste and duplication
B) improve access to health care
C) improve the quality of health care
All these perpetual discussions and heated debates speak to everything but the one critical factor that will directly impact all aspects of health care delivery and that is the ongoing continued process of approved resident medical education in the United States.
It seems obvious that no health care delivery system can exist without physicians, and that improving resident physician training is perhaps more important than any of the many suggestions out there in the ether. Electronic medical records, bar code recognition devices, use of telecommunication and the internet for patient education- all are critical components to improving patient quality care; but at the end of the day, the most vital part of the equation is the education and training of our future physicians.
A quality doctor will lead to quality care! A better trained physician will lead to better patient outcomes and satisfaction. It is quite perplexing that this essential aspect for the distribution of the health care dollar is not first and foremost in any discussion rather than, talks about expanded use of physician extenders as a basis for future improved health care delivery systems and reduction costs.
The approved physician residency training programs in the United States are the envy of the world and the world’s physician’s flock to our programs for residency training. It would be a shame if we a as a society were to lose our focus and do anything to diminish our national financial support to our hospital residency training programs: for if we were to go down that road, we will have gained only short term financial benefit at the expense of a long term upheaval in our health care system that we may never recover from.