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Cardiology Work Force Crisis Looms as Cases Set to Rocket

Report suggests that projected deaths by 2050 require cardiology work force to double

THURSDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- The cardiology work force will need to double by 2050 if it is to keep pace with the growing number of patients requiring specialist cardiology care, according to an American College of Cardiology (ACC) study published online Sept. 10 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and presented at an ACC media telebriefing earlier today.

George P. Rodgers, M.D., chair of the ACC Board of Trustees Workforce Task Force, and colleagues write that cardiovascular disease prevalence is rising by between 1 and 2 percent a year, while the American population is expected to increase over the coming 20 years. Despite falling mortality rates for cardiovascular disease, these demographic changes will cause mortality due to heart disease to rise 128.5 percent from 2000 to 2050.

To cope with this increase, there will need to be a doubling of cardiovascular disease specialists by 2050, as well as an increase in the number of non-physician practitioners such as nurses and physician assistants in the field of cardiology, the authors state. Among the ACC's recommendations are more advocacy to push for the necessary funding, as well as greater efforts to redress the imbalance in the cardiology work force whereby women and ethnic minorities are currently under-represented.

"The cardiology community can further benefit from the development of education and best practices that address programs for delayed retirement, improvement of practice workflow, and adoption and implementation of electronic medical records," the authors write.

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Physician's Briefing