Shaping the Future of Family Medicine
A few months ago, the Family Medicine Working Party launched an initiative to examine the challenges and opportunities facing our specialty and define a path forward in a rapidly changing health care system.
Family Medicine for America's Health: Future of Family Medicine 2.0 is specifically designed to define the role of the 21st century family physician, including key attributes, practice scope and role within the health care system, and to ensure family medicine can deliver the workforce to perform this role via medical school/residency training and re-engaging existing family physicians, among other things.
When this project launched, we promised to share regular updates on its progress. Here is the latest information.
Family Medicine for America’s Health:
Future of Family Medicine 2.0
Organizational Update #2
As many of you know, the Family Medicine for America’s Health: Future of Family Medicine 2.0 initiative launched in late August. The purpose of this effort is to develop a multiyear strategic plan and communications program to address the role of family medicine in the changing health care landscape.
As a reminder, the Family Medicine Working Party identified a set of key principles that will underpin this effort:
- deliver on the triple aim: improving the health of the population, enhancing the patient experience of care (including quality, access and reliability), and reducing, or at least controlling, the per capita cost of care;
- focus on the needs of residents and medical students, as well as practicing family physicians; and
- manage the tension between addressing the needs of family medicine as a specialty and needed changes to the health care system of which it is a part.
The first of seven Core Team meetings was held on Oct. 15 in Chicago. The consultants retained for this project -- CFAR and APCO Worldwide -- have begun the research phases of their respective plans. CFAR conducted a series of interviews with family medicine stakeholders. Interviewees included family physicians practicing and teaching in a variety of settings, public health and mental health teachers and practitioners, osteopaths, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and other specialists. The insights gleaned from the interviews will be used to inform CFAR's Strategic Options Survey, which launched during the week of Oct. 21 and will remain open for two weeks. CFAR also will begin gathering and working with data from a range of sources to build a solid understanding of the current state of family medicine, its strengths and its challenges.
APCO is conducting in-depth interviews with health policy experts, payers, health plan purchasers, other primary care professionals and specialists to gather insights and recommendations related to how these external stakeholders view family physicians. These discussions will inform the quantitative element of their research, which includes surveys of a wide group of family medicine stakeholders. This research will be used to guide the development of a comprehensive communications plan.
At the meeting, CFAR and APCO briefed the Core Team on feedback from their interviews. Issues surrounding scope of practice and length of training emerged as significant themes, particularly in the CFAR interviews. Additional questions arose from both CFAR and APCO's discussions that will require further discussion and evaluation, including
- Are family physicians “specialists” or “comprehensivists” who provide longitudinal care?
- What is the “unifying theme” among the diverse archetypes of family physicians?
- How do family physicians approach the needs and wants of patients differently than do other physicians?
- Do family physicians believe they have a mandate to lead the patient-centered medical home effort or are they deferring to others?
- What impact will technology and big data have on the practice of family medicine?
Since our first report to members on this initiative, we have received more than 140 comments to FutureFM@aafp.org. We are pleased that family physicians are taking the time to provide input and would encourage others to share their views through this dedicated e-mail address. We are closely reviewing comments and are incorporating suggestions into the planning process.
The second meeting of the Core Team will be Nov. 13. We will continue to provide updates throughout this process. We strongly encourage input and feedback and invite you to share your thoughts and recommendations by email to FutureFM@aafp.org.
Following are members of the Steering Committee and the Core Team.
Samuel Jones, M.D. (ABFM) -- Committee Chair
Stacy Brungardt (STFM)
Ardis Davis (ADFM)
Frank deGruy, M.D. (NAPCRG)
Kevin Helm (AFMRD)
Douglas Henley, M.D. (AAFP)
Grant Hoekzema, M.D. (AFMRD)
Jason Marker, M.D. (AAFP Foundation)
James Puffer, M.D. (ABFM)
John Saultz, M.D. (STFM)
Kurt Stange, M.D., Ph.D. (NAPCRG)
Glen Stream, M.D., M.B.I. (AAFP)
Barbara Thompson, M.D. (ADFM)
Jane Weida, M.D. (AAFP Foundation)
Tom Campbell (ADFM)
Jennifer DeVoe, M.D., D.Phil. (NAPCRG)
Jerry Kruse, M.D. (STFM)
Bob Phillips, M.D. (ABFM)
Glen Stream, M.D., M.B.I. (AAFP)
Mike Tuggy, M.D. (AFMRD)
Mary Jo Welker, M.D. (AAFP Foundation)
Jeff Cain, M.D., is Board Chair of the AAFP.