Thursday, August 18, 2016

Physician shortage in 2025?

For those of you (possibly including myself*) who look at medicine as a possible alternative career, an interesting assertion from the 2016 report by the American Association of Medical Colleges, regarding the employment outlook for physicians:
Physician demand continues to grow faster than supply leading to a projected total physician shortfall of between 61,700 and 94,700 physicians by 2025. As with the 2015 projections, under every combination of scenarios modeled, an overall physician shortage is projected. Though this total projected shortfall exceeds the 46,100 to 90,400 physician shortfall estimated by the 2015 study (Exhibits ES-1 and ES-2), the 2016 updated projections of a physician shortfall in 2025 are of a similar magnitude to the 2015 projections. Differences between the 2016 update and the 2015 projections largely reflect the use of more recent data and improvements to methods.
Obviously, this is a projection and the world is woefully short on accurate soothsayers. For what it is worth, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also sees a 14% increase in positions for physicians and surgeons for the 2014-2024 time period, which is faster than the 7% growth projected for all jobs.

*Note to my employers: I really like my job, and I like hanging out with my kids. Neither of those things are compatible with going to medical school.

(Other caveats: wage growth, unemployment, difficulty in getting medical education, etc., etc.)


  1. medicine was the original career consideration for me.... & then i came to my senses & realized 200k in loans was not worth all that being a physician in the US has turned into.

  2. Doctors have an AMA to restrict entrance to their profession. Guess who doesn't? Any wonder now why there's a massive pay differential?

    1. It is not the AMA but rather state licensing requirements that restrict entry of physicians into the workforce. And a good thing if you must find a physician in a hurry. A similar thing happens with patents and USPTO registration requirements. My income doubled after getting my registration number. Whether that is a good thing is for others to decide. Until society decides chemists must be licensed, you are stuck and subject to the whims of the market place.

  3. It's fairly certain that information technology will be assisting future physicians in ways that make IBM Watson Health look downright goofy. And there are new ranks appearing in the medical hierarchy that assume duties previously reserved for M.D.s; nurse practitioners were just the start.

    I think the numbers in the report are questionable because no one can say for certain just what the job of physician will be in nine years. That's a helluva long time from now.