Will Americans be vying for doctor’s appointments and experiencing longer waits for medical care and surgery in the years ahead?
A new report by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) predicts that a shortage of physicians in the U.S. is going to grow worse.
The report estimates a shortfall ranging from 34,600 to 88,000 doctors by 2025, compared to what our growing and aging population may need. By 2030, the shortfall is expected to total anywhere from 40,800 to 104,900 doctors.
A future shortage could have a huge effect on patient care — but it’s complicated, say experts.
By 2030, the number of Americans over the age of 65 will grow by 55 percent, said Dr. Darrell G. Kirch, AAMC president and CEO, making the physician shortage projections “especially troubling,” since as people age they typically need more health care services.
“As our patient population continues to grow and age, we must begin to train more doctors if we wish to meet the health care needs of all Americans,” Kirch said in a statement.
The survey was conducted for AAMC by IHS Markit, a global information company. This is the third year they’ve produced a report on the topic, and this year’s figures are bigger than the 2016 survey, which projected a physician shortage of 61,700 to 94,700 by 2025.
The researchers looked at the data in a number of areas of medicine, including:
- Primary care
- Medical specialties, such as allergy and immunology, cardiology, gastroenterology, infectious diseases, and many other treatment areas
- Surgical specialties
- Other specialties, a category that included psychiatry and pathology
In primary care, the findings suggest there will be a shortage of between 7,300 and 43,100 physicians by 2030. Non-primary care specialties will be even harder hit, estimated to have a shortage of 33,500 and 61,800 physicians. Surgery may see deficits of 19,800 to 29,000 fewer surgeons than needed.
Dr. Ira Nash, senior vice president and executive director of Northwell…