How Obamacare Is Transforming The Way Medical Schools Teach America’s Doctors

Obamacare has already begun making big changes to the way that insurers and hospitals do business — and now, it’s changing the very way that medical schools train doctors. As Modern Healthcare reports, medical colleges are expanding programs to teach doctors how to coordinate care with other health care workers, focus on patients’ comprehensive, long-term care, and encouraging more general practitioners and primary care providers in anticipation of a changing medical landscape under Obamacare.

One of the most significant ways that Obamacare hopes to transform the American medical industry is by shifting it from an expensive system of private practices to a coordinated care model in which hospitals, nurses, general practitioners, and physicians work together to provide centralized and patient-focused care — what some in the industry refer to as a “medical home” — to lower costs and improve health outcomes. But this strategy’s success depends entirely on a medical workforce that understands how to coordinate care and work in teams — and medical colleges understand that:

Those trends [towards group practices] are gathering speed under Obamacare as government spurs the creation of new health care models like medical homes and accountable-care organizations, which make doctors responsible for soup-to-nuts care and patients’ health over the long term.

Schools like Weill Cornell are teaching would-be doctors how to work more effectively with other health professionals so that they may lead the changes rather than get swept up in them. They are putting a heavy premium on teamwork among doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, health aides and physician assistants. Doctors prescribe the medicine, but it may be the nurse, the social worker or the home health aide who makes sure it gets taken. […]“If care is to be transformed, that can’t happen unless we transform the process of training physicians,” said Carol Aschenbrener, chief medical education officer of the American Association of Medical Colleges.

Teaching hospitals such as NYU Langone are also expanding programs for alternative degrees in public health and hospital administration in an effort to get ahead of the coordinated care curve. Weill Cornell has programs that offer students financial incentives to go into primary care, as well as classes that train doctors to get used to following patients’ treatment regimens and care over the long-term.


That’s especially good news considering the primary doctor shortage that America is potentially facing, and in light of the fact that wasteful Medicare spending is largely spurred by patients not following their treatment regimens. Coordinated, bundled care that streamlines the fragmented health care system will simplify Americans’ care and help them properly follow their treatments, lead healthier lifestyles, and thereby lower health care spending.

Taken together, recent changes in medical school training curricula are very promising for the future of American health care, and a stark reminder that Obamacare doesn’t just aim to reform private insurance — it also contains bold ideas for reforming the very way that health care is delivered in America.