The Association of American Medical Colleges recently released a 2016 update to “The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand” report. The update examines scenarios commonly expected to affect physician supply (e.g., early or delayed retirement of physicians) and those expected to affect the demand for physician services over the next decade (e.g., changing demographics, greater adoption of managed care models, or greater integration of advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants). The following six key findings from the report offer healthcare organizations and industry professionals insights into the directional changes expected in the physician workforce by 2025.
- In its 2016 report, the AAMC found our nation will face a shortage of between 61,700 physicians and 94,700 physicians by 2025.
- By 2025, there will be a primary care shortage of between 14,900 physicians and 35,600 physicians, an increase from the range the 2015 report predicted (12,500 physicians to 31,100 physicians).
- There will be a projected shortfall of specialists of between 37,400 and 60,300 by 2025.
- By 2025, there will be a projected shortage of between 25,200 and 33,200 surgeons.
- More than 33 percent of active physicians will be 65 or older within the next 10 years. Physicians between the ages of 64 and 75 currently account for 11 percent of the workforce.
- From 2014 to 2025, the U.S. population is expected to grow 8.6 percent to 346 million. The population of 65-year-olds and older is expected to increase 41 percent in this time frame.
As older physicians prepare to retire, fewer younger physicians enter the workforce, and an increasing number of people gain access to healthcare, a perfect storm is being created. It’s time that the healthcare industry as a whole collectively brainstorm ways to face these challenges. We have certainly made progress through various solutions such as the possibility of more robust roles for Nurse Practitioners, potential improvements to Conrad 30, and advances in telemedicine. However, it’s imperative that we continue to innovate and collaborate in order to take steps toward resolving America’s current and future physician shortage.
As a company that provides innovative healthcare, executive, and higher education recruitment and retention solutions to clients, these figures are even more salient. Now, more than ever, it is necessary for healthcare organizations to approach recruitment and retention strategically and establish partnerships with dedicated recruitment firms to help navigate this uncertain terrain.