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June 1986

Dermatologists in the Year 2000: Will Supply Exceed Demand?

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, Beth Israel Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and the Charles A. Dana Research Institute, Beth Israel Hospital, Boston.

Arch Dermatol. 1986;122(6):675-678. doi:10.1001/archderm.1986.01660180081020

The debate about the shortage or surplus of physicians, as a whole, and of dermatologists, in particular, continues.1,2 According to the current consensus, a surplus exists in many specialties and, in most specialties where there is not now a surplus, there soon will be.1

Both supply and demand determine the degree of surplus or shortage of dermatologists. Past efforts to determine whether a surplus exists, or would occur, have been based on estimates of both supply and demand.2,3 Projections in the past have been based on the number of dermatologists per 100,000 population. However, given the rapid changes in the organization and financing of medical care in the United States, estimating future demand for dermatologists' services is, at best, difficult.

Increases in the US population may not necessarily translate into increased demand for dermatologists' services. The number of visits per dermatologic complaint increased little from 1974 to