A recent report from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) is projecting that the United States will face a shortage of between 40,800 and 104,900 physicians by 2030. When broken down by provider type, AAMC estimates that the country will face a shortage of between 7,300 and 43,000 primary care physicians (PCPs) and between 33,500 and 61,800 specialists. The report, The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand: Projections from 2015 to 2030, marks the third year in a row that AAMC has projected that physician demand will continue to outpace supply.

AAMC reported that physician retirement is the primary factor behind the declining supply of providers. According to the report, about one-third of currently practicing physicians will be at least 65 years new within the next decade. Meanwhile, AAMC indicated that the number of people over age 65 is expected to increase by 55 percent by 2030. In addition, the report noted that the provider workforce could be further strained if there are no improvements in access to care or improvements in trying to meet certain population health goals.

To address the physician shortage, AAMC called for a “multipronged solution” that would include: Better use of technology; expanding medical school class size; federal support to create 3,000 new residency positions annually for the next five years; and innovation in care delivery and team-based care.

In a special article, The Past Is Prologue: The Future of Sleep Medicine, AASM leaders described how the AASM is responding to the potential physician shortage. The AASM is developing a comprehensive plan to strengthen the field by growing sleep fellowship programs, exploring novel sleep medicine training opportunities, creating and fostering the sleep team, embracing the role of consumer sleep technologies, and expanding the reach of sleep specialists through telemedicine.