Managing the Dermatology Shortage in Long Term Care

Dermatology Shortage

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Baby boomers who have reached the age of 65 mean the doctor workforce, as well as the patients who require them, are becoming older and retiring. Additionally, the U.S. population continues to increase. This means that the demand in the medical field, especially dermatology, is growing.

A report released by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) estimates that the United States will see a shortage of 37,800 and 124,000 doctors in 2034. In the medical field, dermatology is among them; the number of doctors in need could be more significant than 13,000.

The annual average income for dermatologists is approximately $438,000. This puts them within the top 10 of specialties according to income. Training positions have increased by around 10% over the past five years. But the number of dermatologists isn’t keeping up with the demands.

Here are a few top points to learn about the shortage of dermatologists.

The Need for Dermatologists is Increasing.

Skin is one of the biggest and fastest-growing organs. Skin conditions are also increasing dramatically. Skin cancer is the most frequent kind of cancer, and its prevalence is expected to increase due to the aging of the population. At the age of 70, approximately 20% of Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer.

Improvements in cosmetic procedures and treatments are driving the demand for dermatologists.

The Workforce of Dermatologists is Getting Older.

Nearly half of the U.S. physician workforce is aged 55 or more. Of the 11072 U.S. dermatologists in active clinical roles, 45% are in this age group. It means that dermatology is one of the many medical specialties facing retirement in the coming 10-20 years.

The Lack Of Supply Is Evident In Waiting For Durations.

Dermatology is among the most sought-after medical specialties, and positions for training have grown. However, the shortage of dermatologists continues to expand and can be seen in waiting times for an appointment. Between 2004 and 2017, dermatologist appointments increased by 33%, averaging 24.3 days to 32.3 days. The trend was slightly more pronounced in 2022, with a further 7% increase to an average of 34.5 days.

  • America Needs
  • 13000 
  • Dermatologist by 2034
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The Shortage of Dermatologists is More Severe in Rural Areas.

Mid-markets and rural areas pose the biggest hurdles to providing dermatology services. The practices in these areas tend to have lesser demand for dermatology cosmetics and more demand for more extensive dermatology treatment. It could impact income, work-life balance, and even the practice of malpractice.

Additionally, dermatology is home to the lowest percentage of international medical graduates (IMGs) compared to the total medical workforce (5% and. 25%). Most of the time, IMGs are more likely to work in under-served regions on their way to their permanent U.S. residency.

The Paperwork Burden is Less Than Average.

Administrative and paper-related tasks are among the major causes of physician burnout. They take time away from patients, which is frustrating for many doctors. According to a Medscape study, the average physician performs these duties about 16 hours per week. But dermatologists spend around 12 hours per week filling out paperwork. This could be a beneficial reason to attract new doctors.

Dermatologists are Still Able to Maintain an Excellent Lifestyle Balance.

Another factor that draws new dermatologists is the life balance that the field has always enjoyed. Dermatologists typically work in an outpatient practice and often have large proportions of patients that pay for elective treatments, and they may work just three or four days per week.

This favorable practice environment can be seen in the reality that the majority of dermatologists say they would consider this field in the future.

Other Professionals in Patient Care Can Help With Dermatology Concerns.

Other healthcare professionals for patients are essential to the success of many dermatology clinics. These include nurse practitioners, aestheticians, and physician assistants. The addition of these specialists can increase the quality of care provided to patients in an office. They may also help meet the gap in areas of mid- and rural.

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Tele-dermatology is a New Practice of Fashion.

As with other medical fields, Telehealth has exploded in dermatology procedures. It lets dermatologists manage minor ailments and stable, chronic conditions from a distance. It’s also a great instrument to increase access to second opinions from an expert as well as reduce the waiting time for appointments with dermatologists, and provide dermatology services to areas that are rural or mid-market.

However, technology limitations, reimbursement in technology, liability, and federal regulations are still potential obstacles to this practice.

The Demand for Doctors is Increasing. However, The Number of Doctors Isn’t.

One of the primary reasons for this is not the number of dermatologists available but their work.

The speed of a dermatologist’s ability to be trained is unbeatable, particularly in a field so complex as this, filled with rare diseases and fringe cases to take note of. Today, a dermatologist who is board certified requires 12 years of comprehensive and specific education and experience to be competent in their work.

In the meantime, while the number of dermatologists has continued to grow steadily, the need for their services has risen dramatically in recent times and has seen the number of consultation requests increase exponentially, overflowing with an infrastructure that was unprepared to handle this increase.

One reason the need for dermatologists continues growing is their array of services and treatments. Dermatology is a field of medicine focused on treating hair, skin, and nails. They are all often affected by noticeable ailments that impact people’s daily lives.

Apart from treating medical conditions for patients of all ages, dermatologists can also perform cosmetic procedures to ensure their patients appear and feel beautiful. The need for this procedure is only increasing as the years pass by.

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Efficiency is Trending Lower, While Burnout is Trending Up.

Another area for improvement in the medical field is the increasing quantity of time doctors are required to dedicate to tasks that are not important, as well as the stress and decline in effectiveness that it can bring. In the end, the doctor has spent years of education assisting patients, and working on tasks that aren’t important could be extremely difficult for the doctor and a poor decision for the health center.

This is especially true for dermatology, where patients often require a long time to count lessons or calculate affected area and severity scores instead of talking to their patients to understand their needs.

Implementing telemedicine applications, such as Hucu.ai, which can cut down on time required to perform these tasks, is a crucial step that will allow dermatologists to make the most of their time from a medical and financial perspective. Hucu.ai is fully integrated with an EHR system where they can find every patient health record cloud-based. They no longer have to go through the physical files and test reports.

Furthermore, using Hucu.ai’s HIPAA-compliant telemedicine solution significantly decreases the feelings of exhaustion since having access to the most effective tools allows doctors to concentrate on developing connections with their patients while letting the algorithms determine the lesions and calculate the surface area.

Conclusion

A complicated issue like this isn’t solvable by a single, quick action. It requires an entire overhaul of the medical system and the way we view dermatology to alter a situation that is as deeply rooted as this.

However, we shouldn’t accept apathy, endless waiting lists, and overworked physicians. Small changes can make a difference and could be the first step toward the future we want.

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