The future holds too few docs

Physicians will be harder to come by in 2020 if the data presented in Physician Workforce Policy Guidelines for the United States, 2000-2020 holds true. According to the report, the supply of practicing physicians in the United States is expect to rise 24 percent from 2000 to 2020. However, growth is expected to slow considerably after 2010. This slowdown reflects the aging of the current physician workforce and the relatively level annual number of new physician entrants since 1980.

At the same time, the demand for physicians is likely to grow even more rapidly during this period than the supply. It is likely that the demand for physician services will grow to between 1.03 million and 1.24 million physicians in 2020. The three major factors driving this will be: the projected population growth of 50 million persons; the aging of the baby boom generation; and the changing age-specific per capita physician utlilization rates, with those under age 45 using fewer services, but those over age 45 using more.

Source: Council on Graduate Medical Education, 2005

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