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Behind the Scenes: Medicine

Pete Springer/OPB

The way we receive health care and how doctors deliver it is changing with the passage of last year’s health care reform laws. For medical residents, the new laws may influence not only what they must learn to become doctors, but also which field of medicine they choose to enter. One area of medicine that some officials say is the most important in prevention and cost control is primary care, but fewer and fewer med students are becoming primary care physicians.

Popular TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy and House M.D. portray the lives of doctors-to-be in dramatic episodes that blend fact with fiction. But how close to reality do such shows come to the real lives of medical residents? A Portland author has written books about just this; embedding himself for months with Oregon Health & Science University surgery residents to learn what it’s really like to become a doctor.

Exactly what health care will look like in the future is still being hashed out, but Oregon is one of the states where provider models called “medical homes” exist. These centers provide people with primary care from a medical team, and are coordinated through electronic access points.

Last week legislators in Salem considered a bill that would set aside $400,000 to establish a research and training center at OHSU to study the transformation of primary care into the medical home model.

Are you a resident? If so, what factors are you considering as you complete your medical training? Are you a patient wanting to know more about the future of health care reform and how it may impact you?

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