Addressing the Shortage of Intensivists in the U.S.

a doctor sitting in her officeRecent reports have revealed shocking figures: the US will have a shortage of an estimated 90,000 physicians by the year 2025.  The problem, which is beginning to happen today, stems from a rapidly aging population as well as adults who are saddled with chronic disease. More importantly,  there will be a shortage of surgeons and doctors who could provide critical care to patients. Companies like Interim Physicians are preparing for this possible scenario by engaging the best and brightest in the medical field to work as critical care locum tenens.

How is a Critical Care Doctor Different?

Critical care doctors or intensivists are licensed physicians who specialize in caring for critically ill patients. These patients are often found in the intensive care unit (ICU) of hospitals. They trained for an extra two or three years in critical medicine and had a certification. Intensivists lead a team of other specialists and work together to increase the patient’s survival rate. Once the patient is out of danger, he or she can be transferred to a regular room in the hospital and where a regular doctor or consultant could attend to them.

More Critical Care Doctors Needed

Critically ill patients can suffer multiple problems at the same time. It is up to the critical care doctor to determine the best course of action or treatment. Without him, the patient could suffer from any number of complications caused by his condition or illness. Given the shortage of doctors in most hospitals, there are very few intensivists in rural areas.

One solution proposed by many groups is to find critical care locum tenens to bridge the gap. These specially trained and highly skilled doctors can go to areas where there are no intensivists and ensure that patients receive the special care they need. The same applies to other areas of specialization such as family medicine, surgery, and women’s health.

Of course, this is only a temporary solution to a large-scale problem, but it is a logical and feasible approach. The point is to have someone present while the hospitals and medical institutions find a long-term solution to their staffing issues so patients can continue to receive medical treatment and healthcare.