Emergency Medicine Jobs
What factors are playing a role in the demand for Emergency Medicine physicians?
More than 114 million people seek medical care in Emergency Departments annually, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians, which continues to rise. With this rise of Emergency Department patient visits, the demand for Emergency Medicine physicians is also increasing. Many experts projected the demand for emergency medicine physicians would decrease from the hundreds of hospital emergency department closures over the past decade. However, the actual result is fewer hospitals seeing more and more patients.
Several factors are contributing to the demand of Emergency Medicine physicians. The primary reason for Emergency Medicine physician demand is as simple as increased Emergency Department visits. America has an ever growing geriatric population which is increasing the use of emergency departments. Also, the patient view of healthcare is changing. More and more patients would prefer to visit the emergency room where they can have all tests and treatment done on the spot as opposed to visiting their Family Medicine physician who can’t always provide this convenience. There has also been an increase in emergency services from critically ill or injured patients over the past several years.
Other factors which contribute to Emergency Medicine physician demand include nursing shortages, malpractice costs, lack of reimbursement and the rate of Emergency Medicine graduates. RN shortages have been causing higher demands for several physician specialties for some time. However, it is extremely common to have RN openings in hospital Emergency Medicine departments because the demand is so immense. Also, the costs of malpractice insurance premiums have increased causing discouragement of Emergency Medicine physicians. This has lead Emergency Medicine physicians to other areas of medicine and prevented other physicians from entering this specialty. There can also be a lack of reimbursement to Emergency Medicine physicians for indigent care as Emergency Medicine physicians are required to treat all patients regardless of insurance status or the ability to pay. Lastly, the rate of Emergency Medicine graduates per year is less than the rate of attrition plus the growth of demand for Emergency Medicine physicians.
For nearly a decade, we have heard about Emergency Department overcrowding and Emergency Medicine physician shortages. These shortages are believed to be leaving a negative impact on patient care and causing long waiting periods for patients in the Emergency Department. Alternate forms of healthcare such as Urgent Care Centers or Community Clinics could be a solution to these issues. However, to fully alleviate the situation, the issues previously mentioned causing Emergency Medicine physician demand need to be addressed. Until these factors are address and more alternate forms of healthcare are made available, the demand for Emergency Medicine physicians will continue to rise.