We present you the list of 11 cities with most doctors per capita in America. These are the cities which most likely won’t be affected by a shortage of physicians which is expected in the near future. According to Association of American Medical Colleges, America will face a shortage of 90.000 physicians by 2025. Due to aging population and increasing number of patients suffering from chronic illnesses, demand for doctors will rise by 17 percent. The Association predicts that primary care physicians and surgical specialists will be in the highest demand.
However, it seems that the US is already facing the problem of physician shortfall. With 265.5 active physicians per 100.000, America ranks very low compared to other high-income countries. You can check our list of 11 countries with most doctors per capita to see which countries hire the most doctors in the world.
Besides shortfall of physicians, another problem US health care system faces today in terms of physician capacity is uneven distribution across the country. For instance, while in Massachusetts there are 432.4 doctors per 100.000 population, in Mississippi the rate is as low as 184.7. Moreover, the number of doctors who work in rural areas is much lower than in urban zones, which puts into question the quality of health care rural Americans receive.
Shortage of doctors and uneven distribution have put an extra burden on doctors. Although Americans visit doctors on average four times a year, which is low compared to the median for high-income countries, physicians are seeing 93.2 patients per week, or in other words 19 patients per day. With so many patients in waiting rooms, it is no wonder that majority of doctors spends only 13 to 16 minutes per patient.
The list of problems US health system faces doesn’t end with physicians shortfall and uneven distribution of doctors across the country. Other parameters, such as life expectancy, the number of patients with chronic illnesses, and infant mortality rate, also show that the quality of health care Americans receive isn’t as high as one would expect from the country which spends the most on health in the world. According to Commonwealth Fund, the main reason behind this paradox is high technology use. Compared to other nations, Americans receive the most diagnostic imaging exams, including MRIs, CT scans, PET exams. Additionally, high costs of surgical procedures equally contribute to high expenditure on health.
We can assume that these 11 cities with most doctors per capita in America at least don’t struggle with physicians shortfall. We created the list using Dartmouth Health Atlas as a source which presents the number of physicians per 100.000 by hospital service areas (HSA). HSA is a collection of Zip codes whose residents receive most of their hospitalizations from the hospitals in that area. You can read about the methodology to determine HSA in more details here. Now, let’s turn to our list.