Blog | Wednesday, August 1, 2012

QD: News Every Day--Internists becoming geriatricians, whether they realize it or not

More and more internists are becoming de facto geriatricians, as their patient panels transition into old age, an ACP Internist survey shows.

Almost half of respondents reported that more than half of their patients are baby boomers who are reaching retirement age. Nearly a third of internists reported between a quarter and a half of their patient panel are reaching retirement.

The survey reported that less than 10% of internists described themselves as geriatricians. Currently, there is just one geriatrician for every 2,500 older Americans. But baby boomers are bound to change society, just as they always have--by sheer volume. This will change how internists practice.

As was reported in the July/August issue of ACP Internist, today's older adults already consume a disproportionate share of health services, including 26% of all physician visits and 35% of all hospital admissions, according to a 2008 Institute of Medicine report.

Time-pressed internists will find this patient population more demanding, too, as they have higher expectations and are likely to be in the workplace longer. Read out story to learn more about how to handle this challenging population, as well as find a list of resources to help.

Just as patients are likely to retire, so too are their providers. Do you think you'll be practicing medicine long enough to help baby boomers with their transition? Find out what your peers thought in our interactive poll, "Do you believe you'll be practicing medicine 10 years from now?"