It’s been estimated that upwards of nine million Americans now have health insurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act (check out this impressive visualization). While it is clear that more primary care physicians are needed to meet the demands of this newly covered population, of equal importance is the type of primary care physician that is needed. Primary care physicians of the future will need diverse skillsets in areas such as behavioral health and community organization, along with strong analytic skills to effectively care for their patient populations.
Alternative Payment Models (APMs) highlight the need for such a primary care physician, as individual clinics and groups find innovative ways to deliver quality care more efficiently. Approaches utilizing Population Health Management, Health Information Technology and Quality Improvement necessitate physicians trained in disciplines such as statistics, finance and informatics.1,2 With training in analytic fields, physicians are able to collaborate with experts and generate solutions to complex problems incorporating patient-, clinical- and population-level elements through an analytic lens. Armed with such skills, physicians will also possess the knowledge needed to advocate for more effective payment models that facilitate the best care for their communities.