Shubrook JH, Solomon J, Ross-Lee B. Healthcare reform and practice choices: a survey of osteopathic medical students. J Am Osteopath Assoc 1994;94(11):981. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.19184.108.40.2061.
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Medical students are major stakeholders in the changing world of healthcare. Initiatives to change the specialty makeup and geographic distribution of the physician workforce, changes in the organization of healthcare delivery systems, and financing systems for healthcare will profoundly alter their practice environment while they are in school and just beginning to make career decisions. The decisions of osteopathic medical students, who currently make up 30% of the profession, will shape the profession's response to the new initiatives and determine its place in emerging healthcare systems. The authors surveyed first- and second-year osteopathic medical students to ascertain their perceived knowledge, opinions, and intentions as they relate to healthcare reform. They discovered that increasing numbers of students intend to practice in primary care fields. The student respondents support some of the major changes proposed by reformers in greater numbers than physicians as a whole, and have different priorities that they would like to see addressed in reform. This study reveals links between respondents' intentions to practice primary care and support for specific reform items, but the results show no link between anticipated indebtedness and respondents' intentions to enter primary care or specialty fields. The authors conclude that healthcare reform, although still in debate, has already exerted an influence on the decision-making processes of medical students.
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