Administrators at N.Y.U. say they can make the change without compromising quality, by eliminating redundancies in their science curriculum, getting students into clinical training more quickly and adding some extra class time in the summer.
Not only, they say, will those doctors be able to hang out their shingles to practice earlier, but they will save a quarter of the cost of medical school — $49,560 a year in tuition and fees at N.Y.U., and even more when room, board, books, supplies and other expenses are added in.
“We’re confident that our three-year students are going to get the same depth and core knowledge, that we’re not going to turn it into a trade school,” said Dr. Steven Abramson, vice dean for education, faculty and academic affairs at N.Y.U. School of Medicine.
The sooner this kind of thing happens the better. The US needs more doctors, and incomes in the profession are likely to decline. Reducing the cost of medical education is a must.
This is just the start. Ultimately new doctors will need to be trained to work in a field where machine intelligence and computer aided diagnostics play a much larger role. The consequences will be profound; doctors will need to memorize less and analyze more, and it is likely that much of the routine work that doctors now do alone will be done by nurses and other personnel aided by computers.
The practice of medicine is likely to change more between now and 2032 than it did in the 20th century. Medical education will have to change with it and what we are seeing at NYU is just one baby step at the start of a long and winding road.