Funds to Support Development of Innovative, Web-Based Physician Shortage Tracking Model
Boston, MA, July 12, 2011- The Physicians Foundation, a nonprofit organization that seeks to advance the work of practicing physicians and improve the quality of healthcare for all Americans, announced today it has awarded nearly $750K in grant aid to the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). The funds will be used to develop a dynamic, web-based projection model that can be continually updated with new data to track ongoing physician workforce needs across the country.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act seeks to extend insurance to more than 30 million people. Given this significant influx of new patients, policy makers and health providers will need access to real-time data on the locations where <a href=”/focus-areas/physician-shortage/">physician shortages</a> are most problematic at the local, state and national levels.
"Most experts agree that the nation is facing a shortage of physicians, but we don’t know how many, in what specialties and in which geographies we will fall short," said Erin P. Fraher, PhD who heads the project at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "This model represents an important step in fostering quality healthcare delivery to all patients across America."
"The impending flood of new patients reinforces the critical need for timely and reliable data that illustrates the physician supply needs across the U.S.," said Dr. Alan Plummer, Physicians Foundation board member and chair of the Grants committee. "This tool will further enhance our ability to identify where physicians are most needed to support our patients and growing healthcare system."
The University of North Carolina will utilize data from a wide variety of sources, including the American Medical Association and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Once the data is assembled, UNC, The Physicians Foundation and a clinical advisory group—comprised of practicing physicians—will work collaboratively to develop a model that enables users to estimate physician supply and demand within a set geography and / or specialty. Additionally, users will be able to incorporate a multitude of scenarios to evaluate physician workforce needs, and the sensitivity of projections affected by policy changes.
About the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at UNC
The Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research seeks to improve the health of individuals, families, and populations by understanding the problems, issues and alternatives in the design and delivery of healthcare services. This is accomplished through an interdisciplinary program of research, consultation, technical assistance and training that focuses on timely and policy-relevant questions concerning the accessibility, adequacy, organization, cost and effectiveness of healthcare services and the dissemination of this information to policy makers and the general public.