The AAMC March 3 released updated physician workforce projections estimating a national shortage of 46,100 – 90,400 physicians by 2025. The study was conducted by the Life Science division of IHS Inc., a global information company.
In a statement, AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., explained, “the doctor shortage is real – it’s significant – and it’s particularly serious for the kind of medical care that our aging population is going to need.”
In making the projections, IHS Inc. used a microsimulation model to run multiple scenarios accounting for various demographic and health care delivery changes, such as an aging population, physician retirement patterns, work-life balance expectations of younger physicians, clinical staffing patterns, the effects of different payment models, and other factors. The AAMC emphasized that further research is required on many of these variables and is committed to developing updated projections annually.
Projections of future supply and demand trends for physicians suggests a shortfall of 12,500-31,100 primary care physicians and of 28,200-63,700 non-primary care physicians, with the greatest shortage among surgical specialties, by 2025. The projections show a national inadequacy of physician supply through 2025 in every scenario modeled.
Dr. Kirch added, “The trends from these data are clear - the physician shortage will grow over the next 10 years under every likely scenario. Because training a doctor takes between five and 10 years, we must act now, in 2015, if we are going to avoid serious physician shortages in 2025.”