A recent study indicated that only 25% of medical students are actually moving on to become primary care doctors. The study says the shortage is more severe in rural areas than big cities.
The shortage has hit Texas hard as well. The numbers from 2012 indicate that there were only 165 doctors for every 100,000 patients. That is well below the national average of 220 doctors for every 100,000 patients.
To try and deal with the shortage, technology has been pressed into service. It’s called telemedicine, where you go to the doctor’s office, get checked out by a nurse, a robot and then talk to a doctor that is on a video screen (like Skype).
Texas Medical Association President Dr. Steven Brotherrton told KTRH that the technology helps, but in the long run is not a good option.
“Those things won’t solve the problem for us. They may make things worse temporarily because learning how to use the robot is very time consuming and learning how to get the telemedicine right is difficult,” Brotherrton explained.
“I don’t think those things will solve the problem at all. It’s interesting technology and it will probably increase in usage but it’s not going to solve our shortage.”
Among the reasons for the shortage, according to officials, is the onset of Obamacare.