Projections show more non-physician clinicians in medicine's future
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As dermatologists grapple with the right way to integrate non-physician clinicians into their practices to enable them to provide care for a growing patient population, three recent studies indicate that such providers will make up an increasing proportion of the medical workforce in the future. (For further discussion of how non-physicians clinicians may play a role in dermatology’s future, see “The future of dermatology practices.)

The first, “The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand: Projections Through 2025,” was conducted in November 2008 by the American Association of Medical Colleges. It found that the supply of full-time equivalent physicians would grow from 680,500 in 2005 to 734,900 in 2025 without any changes in policy. The second, “Predictive Modeling the Physician Assistant Supply: 2010 — 2025,” appeared in the September-October 2011 issue of Public Health Reports. It projected growth in the number of physician assistants (PAs) from 74,476 in 2010 to 127,821 in 2025. The third, “Growth of the Nurse Practitioner Workforce,” appeared in Medical Care on Feb. 17, 2012. It projected that the number of nurse practitioners would rise from 86,000 in 2008 to 198,000 in 2025.

The chart below compares these rates of increase.