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Crisis and Physician Shortages – The Future of Anesthesiology

September 29, 2020 | 9:34 pm | Info Articles
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A health care specialty like anesthesiology could adapt to address any pending physician shortage in the coming years. While an anesthesia specialist shortage may affect the specialty, it won’t necessarily be through the inability to meet overwhelming demand. “There may be more need for people to give anesthesia, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into a shortage of anesthesiologists,” said Karen Sibert, MD, FASA, an associate professor and the director of communications for the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at UCLA Medical Center, in Los Angeles.

Anesthesia Specialists and The Future of Anesthesiology

“The gap between the country’s increasing health care demands and the supply of doctors to adequately respond has become more evident as we continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” said David J. Skorton, MD, the president and CEO of the AAMC. “The challenge of having enough doctors to serve our communities will get even worse as the nation’s population continues to grow and age.”

Every year since 2015, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) releases an updated report on a prospective shortage of U.S. physicians expected in the coming years. The estimates have varied through the years, most recently predicting a shortfall of up to 139,000 physicians by 2033, but the core message is always the same: The health care industry won’t be able to keep up with the growing demand.

Dr. Sibert, along with other experts in anesthesiology, sees a range of issues looming on the horizon for the anesthesia field. The overall message is that anesthesia specialists will be faced with major changes in the coming decade as issues ranging from changing practice and compensation models, to evolving business trends, to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic affect the industry.

Supporting Each Other Through a Crisis

At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Envision Healthcare Services started From the Frontlines, a nationwide gathering of clinicians to discuss topics at the forefront of medicine, to facilitate connections between clinicians across the country.

These clinicians are on the frontlines of our national response to this virus and are called upon to develop immediate strategies and solutions to keep our communities and colleagues healthy and safe now and for the future.

“When COVID-19 hit us in the spring, we were able to shuffle people around and keep people working,” says Janaé Dark, MD, MPH, MBA, FACEP, Associate Regional and Associate Site Medical Director, Emergency Medicine, Houston, Texas. “COVID-19 has affected everyone differently, but it’s good to come together and discuss those challenges so we can continue to support each other as a team.”

Click here to read the complete article that includes additional topics of Having the Resources Necessary to Fight the Virus, Putting Patients First and Protecting Our Clinicians.

So far, 2020 has provided many challenges for anesthesia specialists and anesthesia medical groups. With a strong focus on safety and quality, the most effective and efficient practice model is proving to be collaborative healthcare and staying informed with open communications.

Sources:

How Physician Shortages Could Change The Future of Anesthesiology. anesthesiologynews.com

From the Frontlines: Supporting Each Other Through a Crisis. evhc.net