Study: More physicians in primary care improved overall patients' life expectancies

March 07, 2019 - 3:00 am

KYW Newsradio’s Medical Reports are sponsored by Independence Blue Cross. 

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — According to a new study from Stanford University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School, the role of primary care physicians needs to be better emphasized in the United States. 

There is a growing shortage of primary care physicians, and those who are still practicing are being challenged by an increase of patients and fewer hours to see them. 

According to the new research, there needs to be a strong effort to begin primary care development. The study found that every 10 additional primary care physicians per 100,000 people in the U.S. increased the life expectancies of patients by 51.5 days.

In a comparison study, the researchers found that the increase of 10 specialists per 100,000 people in the U.S. yielded a 19.2-day increase. 

Overall, greater primary care physician supply was associated with improved population mortality, which was particularly noticeable in rural communities.