Healthcare reform will create a shortage as demand for doctors exceeds supply
Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) September 27, 2012
Primary care doctors are the gatekeepers of the US health system, often acting as the first point of contact for individuals seeking healthcare. The essential nature of the industry's services has contributed to revenue growth during each of the five years to 2012, despite the recession. During this time, revenue for the Primary Care Doctors industry has increase at an average annual rate of 2.4% to $171.8 billion. “While it did not decline, revenue growth did slow down during the recession, as individuals lost insurance coverage because of unemployment and falling income,” says IBISWorld industry analyst Nikolas Hulewsky. The subsequent economic recovery has been somewhat sluggish, as still-high unemployment continues to plague the nation. Nonetheless, in 2012, revenue is expected to grow 3.2% overall, compared with 2.5% in 2011. In the years ahead, the industry is forecast to benefit from continued improvement in the economy and the healthcare reform laws of 2010, which aim to expand healthcare access to a considerably larger portion of the population by 2014. This trend will boost revenue, which is forecast to increase steadily over the next five years.
While healthcare reform will increase the number of individuals entitled to healthcare and ultimately heighten the demand for services offered by the Primary Care Doctors industry, it will also strain the supply of primary care doctors. As of 2012, economic indicators do not point to a shortage of primary care physicians. However, if healthcare reform is implemented as expected, and the majority of uninsured people gain coverage in 2014, it is likely that there will not be enough primary care doctors to accommodate the influx of newly insured Americans. According to Hulewsky, “as more physicians are demanded to meet the needs of more insured individuals, total industry wages are set to increase over the next five years.”
The industry remains dominated by small firms, but some consolidation has been occurring during the five years to 2012. According to the National Institute of Health Statistics, the percentage of visits to physicians who are solo doctors has been decreasing, while visits to physicians who were part of a group practice with six to 10 physicians have been increasing. Managing hospital employed primary care physician networks is financially challenging, and most networks operate with a negative budget and require subsidies. Thus, a growing number of physicians are approaching hospitals to seek the security of a decent salary and a measure of protection. With a rapid rise in demand project over the next five years, primary care doctors will be pressured to become even more efficient. Consequently, consolidation is forecast to continue as more primary care physicians join group practices or hospitals. Consolidation will help improve profitability as costs such as marketing and overhead are spread across a larger revenue base. As such, the number of practices is projected to decline during the five years to 2017. Because of this trend, however, operating profit is expected to improve moderately, becoming a greater share of revenue in 2017 than it is in 2012. For more information, visit IBISWorld’s Primary Care Doctors in the US industry report page.
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IBISWorld industry Report Key Topics
This industry includes primary care doctors that have the degree of MD (doctor of medicine) or DO (doctor of osteopathy). These doctors are primarily engaged in a practice based on a broad understanding of all illnesses, and do not restrict practice to any particular field of medicine. Industry operators are trained for comprehensive first contact and continuing care for persons with any undiagnosed health concern.
Key External Drivers
Industry Life Cycle
Products & Markets
Products & Services
Globalization & Trade
Market Share Concentration
Key Success Factors
Cost Structure Benchmarks
Barriers to Entry
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