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September 15, 2010

Incorporating Economic Reality Into Medical Education

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and LABiomed, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California (Dr Sessions); and Departments of Health Policy Management and Evaluation and Medicine, University of Toronto, and Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital and University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Dr Detsky).

JAMA. 2010;304(11):1229-1230. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1348

United States health care spending reached 17.3% of gross domestic product in 2009, an increase of 1.1 percentage points in 1 year.1 Although this increase was caused in part by the recession, it continues a trend under way for decades.

The problem of increasing health care costs has become a key US domestic policy and political issue. Like it or not, physicians now play a critical role not only in the well-being of their patients but also in the nation's economic welfare. Medical education, however, has failed to keep pace with these developments. In this Commentary, we suggest an approach for incorporating information about economic realities into medical education to enable physicians to make better-informed decisions for patients and for the United States.