As the nation grapples with concerns about growing physician shortages across the country, The Physicians Foundation and the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC) today launched a new innovative tool to help policy makers, physicians and health systems better plan where to practice and what type of practitioners will be needed to meet the growing utilization of healthcare in the United States.
The FutureDocs Forecasting Tool is an interactive, user-friendly, web-based model that estimates the supply of physicians, use of physician services, and capacity of the physician workforce to meet future use of health services at the sub-state, state and national levels.
The tool is a significant advance in workforce modeling because it is based on the concept of plasticity – the idea that physicians in different specialties have overlapping scopes of practice. Plasticity takes into account the multiple configurations of physicians able to meet patients’ needs for care in different communities. The majority of current national workforce models focus on silo-based projections by physician specialty.