By Richard Nelson, managing editor, May 01, 2013
In the 10 years the Academy has been asking about it, dermatologists have slowly but surely expressed less concern about the supply of dermatologists. (The reasons for this change could include health care reform and increased adoption of physician extenders, but the survey data do not provide details on causation.) Even as broad workforce concerns ease, though, distribution concerns remain.
In the 2002 Dermatology Practice Profile Survey, 50 percent of dermatologists said the supply of dermatologists in their community was less than required. By 2012, only 32 percent said that. Meanwhile, the number saying the supply was greater than required rose from 19 percent in 2002 to 32 percent in 2012. Holding steady, though, was the number of dermatologists seeking another dermatologist to join their practices; the figure floated between 29 and 34 percent in five surveys between 2002 and 2012, settling at the upper figure in the most-recent data.
Still, a majority of one group of dermatologists see issues with the supply of care in their communities — those in rural areas. The charts below illustrate this concern.