The Association of American Medical Colleges now predicts the United States will experience a shortage of 37,800 to 124,000 doctors by 2034, according to their new report, The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand: Projections From 2019 to 2034.
The report raises further alarm within the industry, which is still grappling with increased workforce shortages due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of the report’s key findings and projections include:
- A primary care physician shortage of between 17,800 and 48,000 by 2034.
- A shortage of non-primary care specialty physicians of between 21,000 and 77,100 by 2034 including:
- Between 15,800 and 30,200 for Surgical Specialties.
- Between 3,800 and 13,400 for Medical Specialties.
- Between 10,300 and 35,600 for the Other Specialties category.
- Population growth and aging continue to be the primary source of increasing demand from 2019 to 2034, during which the U.S. population is projected to grow by 10.6%, from about 328.2 million to 363.0 million.
- Aging is also a factor on the provider side, as well, with more than 40% of currently active physicians turning 65 or older within the next decade.
The report also highlights the short- and long-term consequences the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have on the nation’s physician workforce, including on training, regulation, practice, workforce exits, and many other factors.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted many of the deepest disparities in health and access to health care services and exposed vulnerabilities in the health care system,” said AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD in a statement released in conjunction with the report. “The pandemic also has underscored the vital role that physicians and other health care providers play in our nation’s health care infrastructure and the need to ensure we have enough physicians to meet America’s needs.”
Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.