We've told you about the projected shortages in primary care physicians and geriatricians as the population ages. But here's one you might not have expected: We're likely to also see a shortage of gastroenterologists.
Why? Primarily because primary care physicians don't provide colonoscopies. And colonoscopies are increasingly needed to catch cancer early, or even identify precancerous disease. Unless the number of gastroenterologists increases, even the current rate of screening won't be able to be sustained.
The Lewin Group found that current rates will require an additional 1,050 gastroenterologists by 2020 (on top of the current 10,390 practicing gastroenterologists in the United States). If the rates go up by 10 percent, the nation would need as many as 1,550 additional gastroenterologists by that time.
To learn more about the study:
- read this piece from The New York Times
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