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June 21, 1971

Are We Building Too Many Medical Schools?

Author Affiliations

From the University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

JAMA. 1971;216(12):1989-1992. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03180380047010

The health care delivery system is in trouble. An alleged shortage of physicians is only one facet of the problem and may not even be the most important. We don't know exactly how many doctors we need. First we must solve some of the other facets of the problem. We must make the system more efficient and make health care more readily available to all citizens at a reasonable cost. We must make better use of the physicians' time by better utilization of "middle medical personnel" and automation. We must provide and place greater emphasis on health services and not just medical care, and we must do something to improve distribution of available physicians. Establishment of new medical schools is probably the most expensive and surely the slowest approach to solving the problem. We will never solve our problem merely by increasing the number of doctors.