Evidence for Accelerated Primary Care Physician Education

The latest edition of the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, featured an article assessing preliminary outcomes from the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine’s 3-year primary care scholar pathway. This program provides an accelerated pre-doctoral education option for students who wish to enter primary care residency programs. However, these students are not guaranteed to “match” (the automated process through which residency positions are filled) into a residency program. In 2007, the first cohort of primary care scholars entered the program. Today, there have been three cohorts of students through the program. The authors studied outcomes for board examinations between these students and national averages and found no difference in score in any of the pre-licensure examinations. What impact could these findings have on Michigan? An accelerated primary curriculum for motivated students could change the incentives towards primary care specialization. Reduced time in training and educational debt makes entering the primary care workforce a more appealing option from a financial perspective. We need to continually examine new and innovative models for education for all health care professionals.