What Causes the Healthcare Shortage in the US?

Accessible, quality healthcare is a necessity to ensure the prosperity, functioning, and smooth running of any given community. So, why does the US, a country with one of the largest economies and strongest pulls for foreign medical professionals in the world, have a healthcare shortage crisis?

Understanding the Crisis

The United States experiences a persistent gap between the demand for healthcare services and the supply healthcare organisations can provide. The nation is struggling to persuade young, scientifically engaged students to pursue careers in medical professions, such as specialists, primary care providers, nurses, and physicians.

Combined with an ageing population and many medical professionals reaching retirement age, the influx of new workers isn’t sufficient to replace those exiting the industry and thus healthcare organisations are unable to meet the demands of all patients requiring treatment.

The impact of the healthcare shortage on the health and well-being of American civilians cannot be understated. Long wait times for medical appointments, overcrowded emergency departments, and delays in receiving critical medical treatments mean many conditions can easily go unnoticed, untreated, and develop into worse symptoms which could have otherwise been preventable.

The shortage of healthcare professionals induces a stressful environment for both healthcare professional and patient alike, resulting in practitioners having lower job satisfaction and greater risk of burnout, while organisations experience high job turnover rates, as they struggle to keep hold of their existing staff.

With supply not being sufficient to meet demand, the cost of performing medical procedures inevitably increase, resulting in patients having to pay higher medical fees, to the point it’s unaffordable for some members of society.

This had broader impacts on the wider American economy; a general workforce which is struggling with untreated illness is likely to take more time off and be less productive when they’re at work, resulting in shortages of supply in other American sectors.

So, what’s causing the shortage?

There are a several of factors contributing to the United States healthcare shortage crisis, but here are just three.

Healthcare professionals, particularly physicians and nurses, experience high levels of burnout and job dissatisfaction due to heavy workloads, long hours, and administrative burdens. MASC Medical suggest burnout not only affects the well-being of healthcare workers but also contributes to attrition from the profession. As experienced professionals leave the workforce prematurely, the shortage of healthcare providers intensifies, leading to increased strain on the remaining workforce.

Having already mentioned that the ageing population of medical professionals is resulting in shortages in healthcare supply, the same can be said about the overall demographic of the country.

America has an ageing population, not just a medical workforce. Those approaching and reaching retirement age are more reliant on healthcare providers to support the illnesses and injuries that old age incurs.

The nation simply has never had the infrastructure to deal with a population that’s rapidly ageing to such an extent.

Becoming a licenced medical practitioner requires years of higher education and training, and only some members of society can afford to pay the fees that an extended period in college or medical school incurs.

Additionally, medical schools don’t have the infrastructure or capacity to take on more students than they’re already doing, so expanding the healthcare workforce is likely to continue to provide the USA with challenges over the coming years.

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HBC Editors
HBC Editorshttp://www.healthcarebusinessclub.com
HBC editors are a group of healthcare business professionals from diversified backgrounds. At HBC, we present the latest business news, tips, trending topics, interviews in healthcare business field, HBC editors are expanding day by day to cover most of the topics in the middle east and Africa, and other international regions.

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