Colonoscopy by primary care doctors, is it time to start joining the proceduralists?

As mid-level providers are starting to take over primary care, can generalist doctors start doing specialist procedures?

If they’re smart, they’ll try. Better to take advantage of a specialist-favoring physician payment system, rather than wait for things to change.

Colonoscopies are among the more lucrative of procedures, and signs are pointing to a shortage of gastroenterologists in the coming years to perform them.

MedPage Today reports a study from the Annals of Family Medicine showing that primary care doctors can perform a colonoscopy “with the precision and safety advocated by gastroenterology organizations.”

Just as nurse practitioners and physicians assistants are capitalizing on the primary care shortage, those in generalist practice would be wise to take advantage of the shortage in specialty care.

The alternative, waiting for appropriate physician payment reform, remains uncertain as the specialty societies to do all they can to maintain the status quo.