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WORKFORCE: U.S. physician supply and demand projections to 2025 – trends analysis

This is an analysis of U.S. national supply and demand for doctors published by an authoritative source.  Here are some findings:

  • Overall shortfall of between 46,100 to 90,400 physicians by the year 2025 – driven by steep increase in demand
  • Primary care shortfall of 12,500 to 31,100 physicians by the year 2025
  • Affordable Care Act (ACA) will ultimately increase demand for physician care that will call for 16,000 to 17,000 more doctors
  • The shortfalls projected in this study are a smaller than an earlier study done in 2010
  • Surgeons are going to be in greater demand because the analysts predict limited growth in the number of surgeons and also because there is limited ability to have other advanced practice clinicians take some of their workload

This study is also of interest because of the development of various planning scenarios.  Among the topics addressed include trends among:

  • Physician assistants
  • Immigration reform
  • Avoidable hospitalization
  • Concierge medicine
  • Technology development

There is an interesting table projecting demand in different care settings related to changing demographics in the U.S. compared to the effect of the expansion of coverage due to the ACA.

Growth in Demand by Location of Care: 2013 to 2025

Hospital inpatient days are forecast to increase 23 percent due to demographic shifts and only 1 percent due to the ACA.

Emergency department visits are forecast to increase 12 percent due to demographics and 0 percent due to the ACA.

Source: IHS, Inc. (2015, Mar.). The complexities of physician supply and demand: Projections from 2013 to 2025, final report. Washington, D.C.: Association of American Medical Colleges.  https://www.aamc.org/download/426242/data/ihsreportdownload.pdf

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