The Doctor Is Out: Fixing America’s Physician Shortage

Wanted: More Doctors

May 2022

Script

This video is part of our Kite & Key Shorts series—easy to understand...but hard to forget.

 

America is running short on doctors. By 2034, the country could be shy anywhere between 37,000 and 124,000 physicians.i

Why the shortfall?

America’s population is projected to grow by 35 million by the mid-2030s ... and the number of Americans 65 and older is expected to grow over 40%.ii At the same time, a large number of doctors are retiring.

How do we get more physicians fast?

In Germany, they do it by allowing students to go straight from high school to med school. That means they complete their education within six years of getting their high school diploma.iii Partially as a result, Germany graduates more doctors per capita than the United States.iv

Some experts also suggest that American medical schools could switch to a three-year format. They argue that the fourth year of medical school is largely unnecessary ... and could be combined with the first year of residency.v

It’s estimated that eliminating a year of medical school would save students just under $55,000 — which may encourage more people to pursue careers in medicine.vi Some American medical schools already offer these accelerated programs ... and their graduates have been shown to perform as well as doctors who spent more time in school.

Medical school doesn’t need to keep doctors away.

That’s what apples are for.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  1. By 2034, the United States could be short anywhere between 37,000 and 124,000 physicians.
  2. In Germany, students begin studying medicine right after high school, and finish in just six years.
  3. American students in accelerated med school programs have been shown to perform as well as doctors who spent more time in school.

Sources

  1. "The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand: Projections from 2019 to 2034" – Association of American Medical Colleges  
  2. Ibid.
  3. "A Comparison of Medical Education in Germany and the United States: From Applying to Medical School to the Beginnings of Residency" (Dmitry Zavlin, et al.) – German Medical Science
  4. "Medical Graduates" – Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
  5. "The Merits and Challenges of Three-Year Medical School Curricula: Time for an Evidence-Based Discussion" (John R. Raymond, Sr., et al.) – Academic Medicine
  6. "Average Cost of Medical School" – Education Data Initiative

Shownotes

SOUND: “Splinter” (Ace and Pearl)

FOOTAGE: Luis Melendez (Unsplash)

CITED SOURCES AND NEWS OUTLETS ARE NOT AFFILIATED WITH AND HAVE NOT ENDORSED OR SPONSORED ANY PORTION OF THIS PRODUCTION.

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