Internal Medicine Residencies See Slight Uptick in 2014

Apr 3, 2014, 9:00 AM

For the fifth consecutive year, the number of U.S. medical school seniors choosing internal medicine residencies has increased, according to 2014 data released by the National Resident Matching Program. However, at 3,167, the number is well below the 3,884 medical school seniors who chose internal medicine three decades ago, the internist-focused American College of Physicians (ACP) pointed out in a news release.

“While the number of U.S. medical students choosing internal medicine residencies continues in an upward trend, the exorbitant cost of medical education with the resulting financial burden on medical students and residents, along with problematic payment models and administrative hassles, are barriers to a career in general internal medicine and primary care,” ACP’s senior vice president for medical education, Patrick Alguire, MD, FACP, said in the release. “General internists and other primary care physicians are the heart of a high-performing, accessible, and high-quality health care system.”

Only 20 to 25 percent of internal medicine residents eventually choose to specialize in general internal medicine, according to the ACP, down from 54 percent in 1998, with a majority entering subspecialties such as cardiology and gastroenterology. This year’s National Resident Matching Program data reflect first-year residency match results for more than 16,000 allopathic medical school seniors.

Read the National Resident Matching Program’s 2014 report.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.