It’s no secret that the United States is facing a lack of physicians, and primary care physicians (PCPs) are the hardest hit. In 2012 there was a deficit of approximately 9,000 doctors, majority being primary care. It is predicted that by 2020, this need will be closer to 65,000, PCPs accounting for nearly 70%. The shortage of PCPs has a number of contributing factors: a large amount of doctors at or near retirement, a higher number of medical students and young professionals choosing to pursue subspecialties rather than primary care, and physicians seeking employment with hospitals and large medical groups rather than opting for their own private practice. PCPs are also more vulnerable to burnout when compared to subspecialties, like cardiology or gastroenterology.
There are many potential solutions to the physician shortage. As we discussed in “Locums Tenens as the Solution to Physician Burnout” and “Back-to-School and the Need for Locum Tenens”, locums can not only serve as a relief to exhausted providers, but can also aid in relieving the PCP shortage. Increasing use of locum tenens comes in at #2 on CompHealth’s top seven solutions to the physician shortage featured in the infographic below. If you are a provider interested in working locum tenens, please click here. As a healthcare provider, what do you think is the best remedy for the physician shortage?