Primary care physicians shortage: A Korean example

Kyung Hwan Cho, Yong Kyun Roh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: A mismatch in the demand and supply of primary care physicians could give rise to a disorganization of the health care system and public confusion about health care access. There is much evidence in Korea of the existence of a primary care physician shortage. The appropriate required ratio of primary care physicians to the total number of physicians is estimated by analyzing data for primary care insurance consumption in Korea. Methods: Sums of primary care expenditure and claims were calculated to estimate the need for primary care physicians by analyzing the nationwide health insurance claims data of the Korean National Medical Insurance Management Corporation (KNMIMC) between the years 1989-1998. Results: The total number of physicians increased 183% from 1989 to 1998. However, the number of primary care physicians including general physicians, family physicians, general internists, and general pediatricians showed an increase of only 169% in those 10 years. The demand for primary care physicians reaches at least 58.6%, and up to 83.7%, of the total number of physicians in Korea. However, the number of primary care physicians comprises up to 22.0% of the total number of active physicians during the same research period, which showed a large gap between demand and supply of primary care physicians in Korea. Conclusions: To provide high quality care overall, a balanced supply of primary care physicians and specialists is required, based on the nation's demand for health services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-148
Number of pages16
JournalPublic Health Reviews
Volume31
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Keywords

  • Korea
  • Physician supply
  • Primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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