The neurologist workforce may be adequate for currently providing multiple sclerosis (MS) care, but shortages are projected over the next 2 decades, according to a recent study. Researchers used information from neurologist and neurology resident surveys, professional organizations, and previously reported studies to develop a model assessing the projected supply and demand (ie, expected physician visits) of neurologists providing MS patient care. Model projections extended through 2035. They found:
- The capacity for MS patient visits among the overall neurologist workforce is projected to increase by approximately 1% by 2025 and by 12% by 2035.
- However, the number of individuals with MS may increase at a greater rate, potentially resulting in decreased access to timely and high-quality care for this patient population.
- Shortages in the MS neurologist workforce may be particularly acute in small cities and rural areas.
- Based on model sensitivity analyses, potential strategies to substantially increase the capacity for MS physicians include increasing the number of patients with MS seen per neurologist, offering incentives to decrease neurologist retirement rates, and increasing the number of MS fellowship program positions.
Halpern MT, Kane H, Teixeira-Poit S, et al. Projecting the adequacy of the multiple sclerosis neurologist workforce. Int J MS Care. 2018;20(1):35-43. doi:10.7224/1537-2073.2016-044.
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