2015 American College of Rheumatology Workforce Study: Supply and Demand Projections of Adult Rheumatology Workforce (2015-2030)

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  • This article has been accepted for publication and undergone full peer review but has not been through the copyediting, typesetting, pagination and proofreading process, which may lead to differences between this version and the Version of Record. Please cite this article as doi: 10.1002/acr.23518

Abstract

Objective

Describe the character and composition of the 2015 U.S. adult rheumatology workforce; evaluate workforce trends; and project supply and demand for clinical rheumatology care 2015-2030.

Methods

The 2015 Workforce Study of Rheumatology Specialists in the U.S. used primary and secondary data sources to estimate the baseline adult rheumatology workforce and determine demographic and geographic factors relevant to workforce modeling. Supply and demand was projected through 2030, utilizing data-driven estimations regarding the proportion and clinical full-time equivalent (FTE) of academic vs. non-academic practitioners.

Results

The 2015 adult workforce (physicians, NPs, and PAs) was estimated to be 6,013 providers (5,415 clinical FTE). At baseline, the estimated demand exceeded the supply of clinical FTE by 700 (12.9%). By 2030, the supply of rheumatology clinical providers is projected to fall to 4,882 providers or 4,051 clinical FTE (a 25.2% decrease in supply from 2015 baseline levels). Demand in 2030 is projected to exceed supply by 4,133 clinical FTE (102%).

Conclusion

The adult rheumatology workforce projections reflect a major demographic and geographic shift that will significantly impact the supply of the future workforce by 2030. These shifts include baby boomer retirements, a millennial predominance, and an increase of female and part-time providers, in parallel with an increased demand for adult rheumatology care due to the growing and aging U.S. population. Regional and innovative strategies will be necessary to manage access to care and reduce barriers to care for rheumatology patients.

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