Shortage Seen for Adult Endocrinologists

Authors suggest increasing the number of fellows trained annually to meet demand

TUESDAY, June 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- There is a shortage of adult endocrinologists that will continue to grow with increasing patient demand, according to a study published online June 18 in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Robert A. Vigersky, M.D., from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues utilized proprietary and publicly available databases, consultation with a technical expert panel, and the results of an online survey of board-certified endocrinologists to develop a workforce model.

The researchers found that there is a shortage of about 1,500 adult and 100 pediatric full-time equivalent (FTE) endocrinologists. Without an increase in the number of fellows trained, the gap for adult endocrinologists will expand, which will be exacerbated by an increase in demand with the rising prevalence of diabetes mellitus. By increasing the number of fellowship positions by 14.4 percent or 5.5 percent per year, the gap can be closed in 5 or 10 years, respectively. By 2016, the gap between supply and demand for pediatric endocrinologists will close, and thereafter, there will be an excess supply given the current rate of new entrants into the work force.

"There are insufficient adult endocrinologists to satisfy current and future demand," the authors write.

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