The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates a global shortage of 4.3 million physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.
The term physician supply is used to describe the number of trained healthcare professionals working as physicians in the healthcare system.
It completely depends on the graduating people and the retention rates of the existing physicians.
And, the physician shortage is the scenario representation when the growing demand for physicians outmatches the supply.
The shortage is higher in the developing nations because of the limited numbers and capacity of the medical schools in the respective countries.
Additionally, remote and rural areas struggle with physician shortages all over the world.
But the question still remains- why is there a physician shortage?
Physician Shortage: Causes and Solutions
When it comes to healthcare, the world is a small village. This is especially true in medicine, where medical professionals come together more often and share more information than ever before. As a result of this, physician-to-physician communication sharing of knowledge and experience has increased.
Since the pandemic, there is a great shortage of physicians.
What might be the possible reasons behind this huge physician shortage?
How can you combat this challenge of physician shortage?
In this blog post, we’ll answer these questions and provide you with some solutions to help you address the physician shortage.
From the retirement of experienced doctors to increased numbers of baby boomers and chronic diseases, there are many possible reasons behind the shortage of physicians.
This can be overcome by taking right actions in the right direction like expanding medical residencies, creating incentives for physicians to work in underserved areas, developing new methods of health care delivery (such as telemedicine), encouraging alternate sources of health care (e.g., complementary medicine), and Increasing funding for Health Resources And Services Administration programs that support physician recruitment or retention.
Causes of physician shortage
There are many reasons for the physician shortage. Some of them are many doctors leaving the field after graduating from medical school, and a lack of new physicians with the required training and experience.
Additionally, insurance companies do not always provide enough reimbursement to doctors, making it difficult for them to practice medicine. Finally, legislation has been passed that limits how much time doctors can spend seeing patients per day.
Solutions to the physician shortage
There are a number of potential solutions to the physician shortage.
1. Increase physician education and training, including an additional role for online learning
2. Improve working conditions for physicians, such as flexible working hours and better pay
3. Expand access to medical insurance coverage that includes designated providers such as Physicians Office Hours (template available on google)
4. Develop new ways to attract physicians to rural areas and communities who may not have easy access to quality health care facilities
Effects of Physician Shortages
US physician shortages see nearly 122,000 physicians in both primary and specialty care by 2032- data published by AMMC in 2019.
Physician shortage in the US limits or delays accesses to healthcare posing a risk to patients. Also, because it takes 12 to 15 years to be trained as physicians on average, physician shortages in the US are projected for 2032.
Here is the list of the impact of physician shortage on healthcare:
- Extremely low patient quality care
- Increased workload for existing healthcare professionals
- Higher prices for consultations
- Time constraints on the doctor-patient consultations
- Overworked and stressed healthcare practitioners
- Unnecessary waiting time for consultations
Factors Contributing to Physician Shortages
1. The shift in Physician and Patient Population
In the current scenario, 55% of healthcare nurses are 50 years old or above, and 52% of physicians are above 50 or older, or even about to retire.
On the other hand, the patient population has increased and facing more complex illnesses now than ever.
Healthcare issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, pulmonary disease, cancer, and arthritis are a few of the medical conditions of the current physicians.
As the US physician shortage continues, the nation is to face great consequences.
2. Shortages at Rural Hospitals
With millennials entering the healthcare market and boomers departure, rural areas also facing major physician shortages.
It is slightly challenging to sell young healthcare professionals to another region with other young healthcare physicians or explore opportunities.
Millennial doctors prefer to work and enhance their careers in major cities surrounded by their peers.
If you are wondering where are physicians most needed, then you must think of rural areas. However, it is required everywhere as health is a concern at every location.
3. Limitations on Medical School and Residency Programs
The number of physicians we get each year is controlled largely by medical school enrollment caps and the residency slots available to train the physicians.
It is a world-known fact that the medical school acceptance rate is low.
And, as per AAMC, they have increased their enrollments by 30 % since 2002. However, the average acceptance rate still remains at 7 percent.
4. Churn and Burnout
Now, as the nations are facing a shortage of primary care physicians, it has become the candidate’s market.
Providers seek quality engagements with healthcare professionals for growth, manageable workloads, competitive benefits, exposure to complex cases, and more.
The number of outpatient facilities continues to expand and grow, and both the hospitals and large medical associations fighting tooth and nail to recruit the ideal physicians.
Presently, the two greatest issues with physician shortages are- compensation and competitive work-life balances.
Due to the shortages, facilities are understaffed leading to burnout and cognitive overload on the healthcare professionals.
Physicians are actively avoiding joining or staying in a facility that has unmanageable workloads.
5. Projected Supply and Demand of Physicians
Though the projection shows modest growth in physician supply by 2025, demand for physicians is growing faster than the supply.
The demand for physicians is projected to show 17% of growth by 2025. It is due to the growing population size and aging population.
Also, the population below 18 years projects a growth of 5% whereas the elder population aging over 65 needs more care from healthcare professionals and is expected to grow by 14%.
Additionally, more than 1/3rd of the physicians over the age of 55 and less than half of the physicians are available for after-hours attendance.
Therefore, primary care is administered after the traditional working hours in the ER room. Now, waiting in a queue at the doctor’s clinic is a common situation. This points to an obvious shortage of physicians!
By 2025, it is projected that the demand for physicians in the US may exceed the supply by 46, 000 to 90, 000.
The shortage of physicians will bring a considerable impact on the health of the population. Some scientists believe it will persist even with the compensatory scenarios.
Physician Shortage by State
As per NCBI estimates, here are the detailed statistics on the physician shortage by state. Here is the breakdown of physician shortages into three different levels: national, regional, and state.
Nationally, physician shortages will continue to grow across the country through 2030. The United States of America will face an estimated shortage of 139 160 physicians by 2030, and this significant shortage will have varying impacts on each region.
Among the four regions, those with the largest estimated shortage in 2030 will be the South (92,172 jobs) and the West (63,589 jobs); the Midwest will have a lower shortage of 16 291 jobs.
The Northeast is the only region predicted to have a surplus of physician jobs with an excess of 28 627 jobs.
In terms of physician shortage ratios in 2030, the West is forecasted to have the greatest shortage (69 physician jobs per 100 000 people) followed by the South with 62 physicians per 100 000 people.
The Midwest will have a shortage ratio of 41 jobs per 100 000, and the Northeast will have a surplus of 50 jobs per 100 000.
Physician Shortage by Specialty
The Physicians Thrive’s 2022 Physician Compensation Report on 27 January 2022 highlights the compensation and hiring trends helping physicians collect industry data for analyzing the healthcare landscape.
Here’s the projected shortage of physicians by specialty through 2025:
- Cardiology: 7,080
- Ophthalmology: 6,180
- Orthopedic surgery: 5,050
- Urology: 3,630
- General surgery: 2,970
- Cardiothoracic surgery: 1,800
- Gastroenterology: 1,630
- Hematology/Oncology: 1,400
- Pulmonology: 1,400
- Neurosurgery: 1,200
Is There A Physician Shortage?
Some believe that the primary care physician shortages are exaggerated or overblown. In contrast, there is a myriad of evidence illustrating how real it is!
As we already saw that the estimates by AAMC show that there will be a certain physician shortage by 2033.
The gap is even greater than the previous estimates. It lines with the experts who are recruiting the physicians, and the providers, too, recognize the need for more primary care physicians.
So, the answer to the question is- Yes, there is surely a significant physician shortage!
Frequently Asked Questions On Physician Shortage
How can we solve the physician shortage?
There is no one definitive answer to this question, as it depends on a number of factors including the level and availability of medical education and training, the economy, and how physicians choose to practice. But Ampliz has the solution. Ampliz has high-quality authentic physician database.
However, some possible solutions include increasing access to medical education (particularly for those from disadvantaged backgrounds), improving economic conditions which might incentivize more physicians to enter the workforce, and developing new methods for doctor recruitment or retention such as online platforms or social media marketing campaigns targeting specific groups of patients (such as those with chronic illnesses or HIV/AIDS), and developing schemes in which doctors can earn incentives for providing high
A physician shortage is a situation in which there are not enough physicians to meet the health needs of a population.
In some cases, this may be caused by factors such as low enrollment rates in medical schools or an aging population.
A physician shortage can have serious consequences for public health and could lead to longer wait times for care.
What are some key strategies for recruiting new physicians?
Some key strategies for recruiting new physicians include creating a physician shortage target area, investing in online and social media marketing, developing targeted recruitment materials, partnering with other healthcare providers, and conducting outsourcing at each event.
Ampliz is one of the leading healthcare data providers, that provides 99% accurate, reliable, and real-time updated data of various healthcare professionals like Physicians, nurses, healthcare executives, pharmacists, etc.
This data consists of names, email IDs, phone numbers, skills and qualifications, and LinkedIn profiles of healthcare professionals.
What steps can be taken to address this shortage?
There are a number of steps that can be taken to address the physician shortage. One way is to increase the number of medical schools and residency programs, which would create more qualified physicians.
Another measure is to encourage doctors who are currently leaving the profession to return.
Finally, it may be necessary to change how reimbursement models work so that doctors can better afford to practice medicine.
What is the shortage of physicians in the United States?
There is a shortage of physicians in the United States. The number of physicians in this country has been decreasing for the past several years, and there are not enough new doctors entering the field to replace those who retire or leave.
In addition, many doctors are choosing to work in less-repetitive areas such as pediatrics or primary care rather than in more lucrative specialties.
This shortage is expected to continue to grow over the next few decades due to increasing age populations and an unwillingness by some young people to pursue careers in medicine.
When did the physician shortage start?
The physician shortage began in the early 1990s.
The physician shortage is on the rise, and it’s expected to worsen in the coming years. However, there are a number of solutions that can be implemented to help alleviate the situation.
From encouraging medical school graduates to enter the workforce, to developing new medical training programs, to developing new medical technologies, there are a number of ways to address this impending physician shortage. So, what are you waiting for?
Start solving the physician shortage today and get physicians’ data from Ampliz!