Overworked and stressed out doctor resting his head on his… | FlickrThere are a number of reasons for the projected physician shortage and a number of solutions to the problem have been identified—and they all have one thing in common: the need to get started right away.

“Because it can take up to a decade to properly educate and train a physician, we need to take action now to ensure we have enough physicians to meet the needs of tomorrow,” AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, MD, wrote in a recent Leadership Viewpoints column. “The health of our nation depends on it.”

The U.S. faces a projected shortage of between 37,800 and 124,000 physicians within 12 years, according to The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand: Projections From 2019 to 2034 (PDF), a report released by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

Specific AAMC projections by 2034 include shortages of:

  • Between 17,800 and 48,000 primary care physicians .
  • Between 21,000 and 77,100 non-primary care physicians.

This includes shortages of:

  • Between 15,800 and 30,200 for surgical specialties.
  • Between 3,800 and 13,400 for medical specialties.
  • Between 10,300 and 35,600 for other specialties.

The AAMC reports that physician shortages hamper efforts to remove barriers to care. If populations […]

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