Pennington Lectures

Sept. 5, 2014 Pennington Lectures in Family Medicine

What clinicians need to know about the future of the Family Medicine Project

What does the future hold for Family Medicine?

John Saultz, MDThat's the question that the organizations of Family Medicine are attempting to answer through the Family Medicine for America's Health: The Future of Family Medicine 2.0 initiative. Dr. John Saultz, MD, OHSU Family Medicine Department Chairman, outlined the initiative during the the keynote lecture for the OHSU Family Medicine 18th Annual Merle Pennington Lecture, held Sept. 5, 2014.

The initiative is the second phase of the Future of Family Medicine Project, which the discipline launched 12 years ago to meet the changing health care environment. Much has changed since the 2002 implementation, including the scope of Family Medicine practice.

“There’s a lot of concern about the changing scope of practice,” Saultz said. “There’s a decline in the percent of family medicine doctors who deliver babies. More practices are using hospitalists. There’s a decline in the percentage of family physicians caring for children: One-third of board certified family doctors will not see children in their practices.”

The Future of Family Medicine 2.0 is addressing the following questions:

  • What new skills are required for the future family physician and what old skills might no longer be necessary?
  • How can we know if the changes underway in our practices are good for patients?
  • What are the implications for how we teach and study family medicine?
  • What new payment models will be required for this model of care to succeed?

“We are experiencing a renaissance in our field, and we are going to encounter things that we have never encountered before,” Saultz said. “We are going to be able to decide what it looks like.”

Future of Family Medicine 2.0 includes:

The initiative will be promoted through “Health is Primary” – an ad campaign that capitalizes on the strong brand recognition of Family Medicine and the importance of primary care. The campaign will begin in November. It will focus on promoting prevention, patient responsibility, the importance of having a primary care physician, the Patient-Centered Medical Home, access to care, coordinated care, patient/physician partnerships to improve health and increased communications options with physicians.

“The question has been asked, ‘Is this a social contract or is it a marketing campaign?’” Saultz said. “I would say that if we’re going to roll this out and tell people that this is what we’re going to do, then it’s a social contract. It’s a promise to constantly improve the care delivery model.”