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September 11, 2018

The US Training System for Physicians—Need for Deeper Analysis

Author Affiliations
  • 1Dell Medical School, University of Texas, Austin
JAMA. 2018;320(10):982-983. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.12879

Training future physicians is a huge investment with returns measured over decades. The annual cost of training a medical student, including the opportunity cost from lost wages, has been estimated at $112 000,1 and annual costs of training for a resident have been estimated at $158 000.2 Thus, for a typical 4-year medical school and 3-year residency, the cost is nearly an estimated $1 million. These costs are borne by government, by individuals in society (passed along through insurance rates to companies and individuals), and by trainees. The benefits of these investments, both for society and the individual, are generated over many years, with students entering medical school this year likely still practicing in 2065.