In 2005, there were 4,946 rheumatologists for adult patients in the United States. Rheumatologists are doctors who specialize in treating arthritis and related rheumatic conditions. Study results revealed that the mean number of visits per rheumatologist per year is 3,758 for male rheumatologists and 2,800 for female rheumatologists. The demand for rheumatologists in 2025 is expected to exceed supply by 2,576 adult rheumatologists and 33 pediatric rheumatologists. To correct this aspect of a pending health crisis, researchers suggested that it's necessary to:
- increase the number of fellows each year
- utilize more physician assistants and nurse practitioners
- improve the efficiency of each rheumatology practice
Already, some arthritis patients have long wait-times when making appointments with rheumatologists, especially those living away from big cities. Expect the problem to get worse before it gets better.
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