Healthcare Economics

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The nature of the health and medical staff crisis is determined by the many categories of workers employed in the healthcare system, ranging from those delivering the most basic health services to specialized doctors. Primary care doctors, specialty physicians, nurses, dentists, midwives, and other dental and medical support are among them.

Nursing personnel are in limited supply in the healthcare industry. The nursing crisis dates back ten years, and the pattern is expected to continue. The United States, for example, has been struggling with a nationwide nursing crisis for a long time, owing to an increase in chronic disease cases, an ageing population, an aging workforce, and a small number of nursing sсhools. Another shortage is the physician workforce shortage. Although there is a constant rise in the number of physicians, it is still not enough to overcome the shortage, which is estimated to be in tens of thousands of doctors in the next ten years (Zurn, Del Poz, Stilwell, & Adams, 2004, p. 5). Again, like nurses, this shortage can be attributed to the aging population. Although the shortage of dentists is not as worse as compared to others, the number is projected to rise in the next decade. Major reason for this shortage is due to the rise in the population, thereby increasing the demand for oral dental services within the population.

One method used by healthcare economists to measure workforce shortage is by the use of data on the number of nurses, doctors, midwives, dentists, and so on, by country. The data is available at the World Health Organization_x0092_s Atlas on the Health Workforce database (Scheffler, Mchoney, Fulton, Del Poz, & Preker, 2017, p. 7). The WHO database is constantly updated and therefore the most reliable source of data. For example, according to the database, the USA has an estimated 4,011,911 registered nurses to date (Hale, 2000, p. 343). Another method is the use of nurse and doctor wage data retrieved from Occupational Wages around the World (OWW) database. The OWW database publication is available at the National Bureau of Economic Research.


Hale, J. (2000). What contribution can health economics make to health promotion? Health

Promotion International, 15(4), 341-348.

Scheffler, M., Mchoney, C., Fulton, D., Del Poz, M., & Preker, S. (2017). Estimates of health

care professional shortage in sub Saharan Africa by 2015. Health Affairs, 36 (3), 1-15.

Zurn, P., Del Poz, M., Stilwell, B., & Adams, O. (2004). Imbalance in the health workforce.

Human Resource for Health, 2 (13), 1-12.

November 23, 2022

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Workforce Healthcare

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