Physician Workforce and SupplyAug 1, 2021
Health Policy Journal Club, August 2021
Physician Workforce and Supply
The health policy journal club is an interdisciplinary, inter-professional group convened monthly by the Farley Health Policy Center to discuss timely topics in health policy. A curated selection of high-yield articles provides the basis for discussion. Past topics have included income inequality and health, professionalism in medicine, patients as consumers, and adjusting payment for measures of social risk. This page presents the reading list from the most recent journal club.
IHS Markit Ltd. The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand: Projections From 2019 to 2034. Washington, DC: AAMC; 2021.
- Introduction, Updated Projections, and Conclusions - pages 1-18 and 58-60
- COVID-19 Physician Workforce Implications and Evolving Care Delivery System Demand Implications - pages 19-23 and 47-52
- Providers Required if US Achieved Equity in Health Care Utilization and Geographic Distribution of Physician Demand - pages 24-26 and 53-57
Pediatric subspecialty workforce supply and demand
- Catenaccio E, Rochlin JM, Simon HK. Association of Lifetime Earning Potential and Workforce Distribution Among Pediatric Subspecialists. JAMA Pediatrics. 2021.
- Freed GL. The pediatric subspecialty workforce is more complex that meets the eye. JAMA Pediatrics. 2021.
- Keller DM, Davis MM, Freed GL. Access to pediatric subspecialty care for children and youth: possible shortages and potential solutions. Pediatric Research. 2020;87:1151-1152.
This report from the Association of American Medical Colleges argues that the projected demand for physicians exceeds supply, with a projected shortage between 37,800 and 124,000 physicians overall - including 17,800-48,000 primary care physicians - by 2034. At journal club, attendees discussed controversy around these estimates: other analyses have suggested that the rate of producing physicians is exceeding population growth and that the United States has a problem of maldistribution rather than a physician shortage. In pediatrics, maldistribution of subspecialists is an issue in particular. Funding for graduate medical education is not designed to address population needs and contributes to the problems of physician maldistribution. Programs for loan repayment like the National Health Service Corps that require working in an underserved area are valuable to shift workforce distribution.