Dermatology Workforce Projections in the United States, 2021 to 2036

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Archives of Dermatological Research


BACKGROUND: There has been a growing imbalance between supply of dermatologists and demand for dermatologic care. To best address physician shortages, it is important to delineate supply and demand patterns in the dermatologic workforce. The goal of this study was to explore dermatology supply and demand over time.

METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of workforce supply and demand projections for dermatologists from 2021 to 2036 using data from the Health Workforce Simulation Model from the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis. Estimates for total workforce supply and demand were summarized in aggregate and stratified by rurality. Scenarios with status quo demand and improved access were considered.

RESULTS: Projected total supply showed a 12.45% increase by 2036. Total demand increased 12.70% by 2036 in the status quo scenario. In the improved access scenario, total supply was inadequate for total demand in any year, lagging by 28% in 2036. Metropolitan areas demonstrated a relative supply surplus up to 2036; nonmetropolitan areas had at least a 157% excess in demand throughout the study period. In 2021 adequacy was 108% and 39% adequacy for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas, respectively; these differences were projected to continue through 2036.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that the dermatology physician workforce is inadequate to meet the demand for dermatologic services in nonmetropolitan areas. Furthermore, improved access to dermatologic care would bolster demand and especially exacerbate workforce inadequacy in nonmetropolitan areas. Continued efforts are needed to address health inequities and ensure access to quality dermatologic care for all.