A Shortage of Doctors

We’re currently facing a doctor shortage in the U.S.  And a recent article in the New York Times pointed out how this shortage is about to get worse as we expand medical coverage to 40 million uninsured Americans.  The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that by 2015 the country will be short more than 62,000 doctors, and that number will more than double by 2025. In addition to healthcare reform the article points to a few contributing factors that are causing the shortage:

  1. Increased Medicare coverage for Baby Boomers (older people need more care).
  2. Declining physician compensation – to make money, doctors have to specialize, leading to a shortage of primary care physicians.
  3. Aging doctors are beginning to retire at a more rapid pace.

There’s no doubt that we’ll need more doctors in this country moving forward.  But in parallel, I believe it’s critical to continue to find ways to make the physicians we have more and more efficient.  I’m excited to see increasing amounts of early-stage capital heading to companies that have that goal in mind.