New report calls future doctor shortage "troubling"

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Medical experts are warning the United States will face a doctor shortage in the next decade.

A new report from the Association of American Medical Colleges shows the shortage could be worse than originally thought.

By 2030, the shortfall is expected to total anywhere from 40,800 to 104,900 doctors.

Here in Cleveland, we have a robust medical industry, from University Hospitals to Cleveland Clinic to Metro Health and private practices.

Cleveland 19 went to the experts with those numbers.

They say it's concerning, but it's not all bad news.

"Even though we've got great medical care in Cleveland, there certainly are underserved populations in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. And I think as a healthcare organization, it's imperative we think about how we can deliver care to the underserved and take care of patients who need it," said Robyn Strosaker, Chief Medical Officer at University Hospitals.

The aging population is also adding to the demand for more doctors. By 2030, the number of Americans over the age of 65 will more than double.

As our population ages, it's also projected to grow by about 12 percent by that same year.

In the meantime, thousands of doctors will be retiring.

More than one-third of all physicians will be 65 or older in the next 10 years.

Primary care and specialties will be most affected, according to the report.

Dr. Strosaker says the doctor shortage isn't new.

She thinks the medical industry is already adapting to get ahead of the problem.

"We are actively using telemedicine, and we use it for a variety of things-- neurology, psychology. And we're looking to use it for other specialties as well so that patients in more rural areas who have difficulty accessing medical care, we can bring that care right to them," Strosaker said.

Changes like this could have a huge impact on decreasing the shortage in a decade.

"I think as a healthcare organization it's imperative we think about how we can deliver care to those underserved and take care of patients who need it," Strosaker said.

Cleveland Clinic says in recent years, they started the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine at Cleveland Clinic South Pointe Hospital. They say their goal is to strengthen the presence of primary care physicians in northeast Ohio and address the growing shortage in primary health care in underserved urban areas in northeastern Ohio.

Experts in the medical field are also concerned about the shortage of nurses in the next few years too.

Many local hospitals partner with colleges and universities to attract young medical professionals.

They hope they'll stay after their training is over.

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