The rise in demand for physician specialties can be attributed to a variety of factors, including dynamic events such as COVID-19, population size/demographic shifts, and mental health crises. Researchers are consistently highlighting the impact of these events on staffing shortages and surpluses within the healthcare industry.
Below are some trends for physician specialties that are in high demand for 2023.
Over the past few years, there’s been a trend in orthopedic patient cases becoming increasingly complex. This trend has led to a higher demand for physicians who are highly specialized in specific surgeries and treatment (ie. Arthoplasty, shoulder/elbow). The National Center for Health Workforce Analysis is projecting a 20.87% increase in demand for Orthopedic Surgeons by 2026.
One category of patient cases that’s increased significantly is spinal disease and osteoporosis. This increase can be attributed to the increasing elderly population. With an expected rise in this population of 135% within the next 30 years, orthopedic surgeons who have the capabilities to successfully perform procedures for spinal disease and related complications are more crucial than ever.
The current pool of vascular surgeons is aging, with one-third of practicing physicians in this field being over 55. Additionally, there are only 3,800 board certified physicians in this field practicing currently, and the demand for vascular surgeons is predicted to grow by 31% by 2025, as evidenced by Health Affairs.
The shortage in this field indicates a wealth of opportunities for fresh medical school graduates. An article by The New England Journal of Medicine quoted Dr. Michel Makaroun, who explained, “Our trainees are getting a lot of job offers — and it’s estimated that for every graduating vascular surgeon, there are two or three jobs waiting out there.”
The US has been facing a mental health crisis that’s only worsened since COVID-19 hit. Forbes published data from the World Health Organization stating that the pandemic has prompted an increase in anxiety and depression by 25%.
Utilizing locum tenens physicians provides a short-term solution for healthcare organizations to address staffing shortages. With specialized physicians increasingly seeking locum tenens positions, locum tenens agencies are able to successfully support healthcare organizations in filling these specialized physician gaps.