In our last post, we demonstrated the overall decline in primary care physician productivity from 2002 to 2016. The decline has yet to rebound for Family Medicine, Pediatrics and Urgent Care while Internal Medicine and OB/Gyn have seen sharp upticks in productivity in the last several years. This week’s focus is on the medical sub-specialties.
In our work helping clients across the country determine the number and type of physicians they need to be successful, physician productivity is a key factor. We have been closely tracking the market forces that impact productivity, as well as the resulting level of ambulatory encounters on a per specialty basis. This week’s focus is on primary care.
In our work with thousands of primary care physicians across the country, we have found that only 30% of physicians are able to offer a new patient appointment within seven days. Our hypothesis was that patient expectations would vary from this reality. So, we completed a national study of 6,725 potential patients across the country and asked “how many days are you willing to wait to see a new primary care physician?”
The following is Part 3 of our in-depth analysis of the supply, demand, aggregation and distribution of physicians throughout the United States. Now that we know and understand the magnitude of the shortage of physicians across the U.S., the question becomes “what should we do about it?” The answer lies in a combination of increasing the supply of physicians, bending the demand curve, and the long-overdue retooling of the physician practice.
Projected Demand for Physicians in the U.S.
As you would expect, the projected demand curve for physicians closely matches the aging of the U.S. population. The percentage of the U.S. population that is 65 or older grows by 2 percentage points five years out, 4 points ten years out and 10 full points by 2036. As a result, the largest spike in demand for physicians is projected between ten and twenty years from now.
Our team at 3d Health recently completed an in-depth analysis of the supply, demand, aggregation, and distribution of physicians throughout the United States. The results are both interesting and a little scary for those of us in the business of attempting to attract physicians to hospitals and health systems. We are excited to share the results and key findings with our clients and friends throughout the industry.
In today’s hypercompetitive healthcare marketplace, hospitals and health systems are always on the lookout for ways to capture market share and stem outmigration. What is the best way to do this? Give patients what they want – access to physicians in a reasonable timeframe.