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Healthcare Marketing



Differentcountries across the globe have been experiencing a shortage ofdoctors over time. Researchers have projected that the trend willcontinue and even become worse in future. Lack of enough physicianshas been affecting the economic development of the countries with ahigh number of people requiring medical services from the limiteddoctors. Most individuals who have the capacity and capabilities todrive the economy of the country face hindrance because of lackingproper medical care and focus. Commins (2015) records that, anadequate number of doctors play a pivotal role in regulating deathcases across the communities by taking immediate care of the clients.The number of people seeking medical assistance has been increasingthat may be because of inadequate dietary measures and increasedexposure to the disease-causing environment. With a high populationgrowth and a large number of aging individuals, doctors’ demand hasrisen, but communities in various parts of the world are facing ashortage. In the United States, the number of physicians has beendeclining as indicated by Association of American Medical Colleges(AAMC). The aim of the study is to define shortage of doctors andevaluate the reasons causing a lack of physicians in the country, andways of bridging the gap by using other medical experts throughmarketing efforts.

Definingphysician shortage

Thenumber of the doctors in the United States and across the world havebeen small than expected. The shortage is projected to continueunless the communities together with the state government come upwith new ideas and strategies for dealing with the condition ofshortage of the physicians. In America, the population has beengrowing at a higher rate, therefore, increasing demand for medicalattention. The shortage of the doctors in the country has beendriving the citizens to seek assistance from other nations and it hasbeen costly to maintain or meet the cost required. Duvivier, Boulet,Opalek, Zanten and Norcini (2014), state that, under each combinationof scenarios in the United States, the country will continue facing ashortage of doctors. The projection by the scientists and otherresearching bodies show that the expected shortage of doctors in theUnited States over the next decade ranges from 61,600 to 94,700 withthe department of surgery facing the greatest decline (Fibuch &ampAhmed, 2015). Research by Fibuch and Ahmed (2015) indicates theshortage of doctors is real, and the country should take the strategyof hiring and training more physicians to break the projection. Thecountry can only improve the health care of the population byadopting measures that can boost the number of doctors for examplethrough increased training and improved motivation of the currentdoctors.

Theshortage of doctors in the country can be grouped into four maincategories that are surgical specialists, medical specialists,primary care and other medical experts. According to Lowery, Scottand Swanson (2016), the reduction in the number of primary caredoctors is projected to be between 14,900 and about 35,600 by 2025and the shortfall in the non-primary caring physicians to be between37,000 and 60,000. There is an expectation that the supply ofphysicians in the surgery section will continue declining while thedemand is growing because of the high number of clients or patientsseeking medical assistance. Commins (2015) postulates that the numberof specialized primary care and other medical physicians is notincreasing with the increasing demand from the customers. The pace ofthe growth of the doctor is small and decreasing. The agingpopulation in the country is growing, therefore, calling for moreattention from the doctors.

Asan example, to demonstrate the shortage of physician in the country,and how the demand for the medical care assistance will bypass thenumber of medical experts, Duvivier et al., (2014) provides hisargument. He argues that in 2014, forty-five states in America hadlimited number of the psychiatrist in comparison to 2009 despite theincrease in the number of adults suffering from mental illnesses. Theshortage of the doctors makes it hard for the patients to receiveproper medication with the limited number of physicians having tohandle the increasing number of people requiring medical attention.The projected shortage will affect the performance of the country inmaintaining the health welfare of individuals across various states.Lowery et al., (2016) argue that, though most people in the countryand other parts of the world fail to visit the medical centers forcheckups and treatment because of financial challenges, geographicand social barriers shortage of the physicians has been greattherefore demotivating people across the nation. Fibuch and Ahmed(2015) state that, the country has been trying to maintain equityamong the growing population to access the limited number of doctorsin various centers. To improve the well-being of the patients in anenvironment of decreasing physicians, the country through the healthsectors should come up with sustainable strategies includinginnovation in care deliveries and better application of technology.

Ithas been difficult for people to see or interact with the doctorseven when seeking medical attentions (Buccoliero,Bellio, Mazzola &amp Solinas, 2016).Even primary care physicians who communicate with the public whenseeking care are decreasing across the states. The shortage isexpected to increase if the right measures are not put in place.DiCicco-Bloom and Cunningham (2015) perceptively say that theprojected reduction in the total number of physicians by 2025 willhave a third of it being primary care doctors, therefore, affectingthe health aspects of the population meaning that as time goes, thedoctors that people mostly interact with will become difficult toprovide the adequate interaction with the customers. The primary caredoctors in the country are being given more tasks including checkupsfor the clients and referring highly complicated problems to amedical specialist. Duvivier et al., (2014) argue that the primarycare patients are the ones that have the highest level of contactwith the patients. It has been difficult for most people in thecountry to be in touch with primary care physicians and more than 65million individuals across the country are living in primary caredesert. The shortage of the doctors leads to reduced interaction,with the clients only coming into contact with the doctors when theybecome sick.

Reasonsfor Shortage of Physicians

Variousfactors are contributing to the scarcity of physicians in differentparts of the world. The reasons have been reducing the number ofmedical experts despite the increasing number of people in the stateswho are seeking medical attention. Freund, Everett, Griffiths, Hudon,Naccarella and Laurant (2015) state that focusing on the main reasonsfor the shortage of the doctors in the countries can help inmaintaining the appropriate number of physicians that can assist inprotecting the health well-being of the people. Some of the reasonscontributing to shortage of doctors in the various states include:

Payment ofthe Doctors

Paymentand compensations are ways of improving the motivation of people inconducting their activities. Adequate salaries and wages motivateindividuals in conducting their daily operations. Poor salaries andbonus payment can play a great role in demotivating people whenperforming their tasks. Doctors in the country have been receivingwages that are below their education level and their expectations. AsKilpatrick, Jabbour and Fortin (2016) state, low salaries have beendiscouraging people from joining the profession and making the activephysician to retire or resign from the work at early ages. Retirementhas been reducing the number of the active and experienced physician,therefore, causing a deficit in various medical departments includingsurgery sections. There have been disparities in the country whenpaying the medical officers with the primary care doctors receivingless amount of finances compared to others including surgeons. Thedifferences in their payments have been discouraging most of thedoctors especially the lower ranked doctors. Freund et al., (2015)postulate that the amount should be based on the time a physicianspent with the client.

High Demand

The populationin the country has been increasing through high birth rates. Highpopulation in the country has been growing calls for medicalattentions. The supply of the physicians in the country has beenlimited therefore making it difficult for the available and a limitednumber of the doctors to meet the demand and requirements of thepopulation effectively. Research by Bodenheimer and Smith (2013)shows that the death rate has been decreasing and is expected toreduce even in future. The lower death rate has increased thepopulation of the country and therefore increasing demand for medicalservices. High population increases the workload of the availabledoctors making them limited to meet the ever-growing population. Toovercome the tasks, most of the doctors have been resigning fromtheir positions.

Few MedicalTraining Schools

Thecountry has been experiencing a shortage of medical training schools,and the requirements of the available schools have been making ithard for people to join. The set needs of the available schools arehigh and advanced making it hard for ordinary individuals in thecountry to join for training. DiCicco-Bloom and Cunningham (2015)argue that the number of medical training schools equipped with allthe medical tools helps in determining the availability of themedical specialists. Few medical training schools have beenconsidering individuals with community service background or interestin being a doctor when admitting applicants. With the static medicaltraining schools that take a limited number of people in thecommunity and the increasing number of the population has beenplaying a part in decreasing the number of medical specialists tohandle the increasing population. The training period taken by thedoctors in the schools, remains high therefore not favoring thedemand of people in the country (Phillips,2012).

Populationgrowth and the aging in the country drive the impending shortage ofthe physicians. About 33,000 doctors will be required to take care ofthe increasing population in the country in the coming ten years. Inaddition, because of the high and growing population of the old,about 10,000 physicians will be required to take care of them acrossvarious states. The death rate in the country has been low. Researchby Freund et al., (2015) shows that, at the age of 65, more than halfof old people in the country suffer from various chronic illnessesand therefore call for the attention of the medical experts indealing with their conditions.

The Role ofthe government

Inthe United States, government plays a great role in sponsoringmedical education particularly residencies. DiCicco-Bloom andCunningham (2015) state that the government does not take part indetermining how the doctors are scanned for different specialties.The government has been facing a challenge in understanding the lawof demand and supply in the medical sector. Bodenheimer and Smith(2013) argue that the government played a role in affecting thebalance between supply and demand of doctors. The governmentestablished, and has continued supporting the harrowing effect on thesupply of medical specialists in the country. To stop the ongoingshortage of physicians in the country, the government shouldintervene. It should employ the right strategies such as beinginvolved in sorting and selecting of applicants to join medicaltraining schools to ensure that all departments in the medicalcenters are represented and that the number of the doctor`s availablematches with the growth of the population.The government has been specifying on the education of the applicantsstating the minimum requirements that an individual should have toget a training school. The applicant for a medical doctor in thecountry is required to have a perfect GPA`s and high MCAT grade tojoin the medical training college in the United States. The highscore and GPA requirement have been disqualifying most of theapplicants, therefore, causing a shortage of individualsparticipating in the colleges. A limited number of students in themedical colleges translate to decrease in the number of doctorsrequired to take care of the ever-growing population.

Solutionfor Shortage of Physicians Through use of Nurses and PhysicianAssistants

Shortageof doctors in the country has far-reaching effects to the populationand country at large. The appropriate procedures should be put inplace to regulate the medical requirements of people across thecountry. Harp andMonsivais (2014)state that fixing the problem of shortage of doctors calls for amulti-prolonged technique. The approach includes innovation such asproper use of technology and establishment of a team-based care sothat the concern to the patients can be effective and efficient. InAmerica, members of AAMC teaching hospitals and medical schools havebeen encouraging teamwork by leading as examples in ensuring thatthere is proper care for the patients (Koumpouros,Toulias &amp Koumpouros, 2015).The groups have been helping to reduce the gap created by theshortage of the doctors.

The use ofother medical professionals including nurses, pharmacist, dentists,public health experts and physician assistants can help to eliminatethe barrier created by a shortage of doctors. Petterson,Liaw, Tran and Bazemore (2015)argue that with the decreasing supply of physicians, the numberphysician assistants and nurse practitioners in the United States isincreasing in the medical set ups. With the increasing number ofpeople in the country, the government is encouraging training of morenurses and physician assistants together with clinical officers tohelp the available doctors in performing their operations. In thecountry, the demand for nurses and physician assistants is increasingwith an aim of bridging the gap occurring because of decrease in thenumber of physicians and increase in the population.

Nursesand other medical professionals help in improving the primary carefor the population by acting as the representative. The number ofpeople joining training colleges to acquire nursing skills has beenincreasing. Despite the shortage of doctors, the nurses and othermedical assistants can significantly reduce the far-reaching impactsthat develop because of a limited number of specialized physicians.Nurses and physician assistants have been increasing the welfare ofpeople across the country by offering immediate care once the clientsare brought for treatment (Anjali,Sanjay and Bipin, 2016).The nurse practitioners and physician assistant are reducing theshortcomings that come because of decreasing medical officers anddoctors in the country. Freund,Everett, Griffiths, Hudon, Naccarella and Laurant (2015) state that the supply of the nurses and assistants of the doctors isincreasing because of a high number of training institutes andmoderate academic level requirements that motivate people in joining.Research by Fibuchand Ahmed (2015)indicate that the cost involved in maintaining nurses and physicianassistants is small and therefore the medical centers can meet theirdemand efficiently.

The effectiveintegration and the growing number of nurse practitioners in thehealth care sector of the country can help reduce pressure on theprimary care by ensuring that the increasing number of patientsreceives treatment and medical advice faster and efficiently(Hariharan, 2015).The nurses take a short period to train and therefore help toalleviate the gap that comes because of a shortage of physicians.Research shows that in the United States, there is an expectationthat the number of nurses will have increased by 30 percent by 2025. Lowery, Scott andSwanson (2016)state that physician assistants and nurse practitioners are highlysignificant in medical set ups as doctors. The nurse and theassistants provide medical services in a wide range of area includingrural and urban locations provide care in a wide variety of thecommunities and provide service to a high population of uninsuredclients. Research by Talbert(2012)shows that the nurse can perform over 80 percent of the tasks carriedout by specialized physicians. Availability of a vast number ofnurses and physician assistants has bridged the gap that is becauseof decreasing and low supply in the number of doctors. The treatmentof common diseases has been enhanced through the application of nursepractitioners, advanced clinicians, physician assistants and othermedical professionals. High supply of nurse practitioners andphysician assistants help in meeting the increasing demand of medicalspecialists, therefore, reducing the gap created by a shortage ofdoctors.

Marketingof the Purse Practitioners and Assistants

Marketingof the nurse practitioners helps them to improve the awareness of theentities that require them for their services. Gallagher(1996)states that marketing helps create the awareness among the entitiesrequiring the nurses. The marketing campaigns help in improving thereputation of the nurses and physician assistant increasing thelikelihood of the organizations to hire them. Marketing also helps inencouraging respect for the profession. There are various marketingapproaches that can be employed to market nurses and physicianassistants.

Marketingthrough the Media

Mediais a great tool that helps in influencing people towards a particulardirection. Media has been used in many aspects to market a productand brand through advertisements. Through media, the medical careentities can evaluate the attributes of the nurses and physicianassistants that match their demand. Using nurse practitioner email,the nurses can campaign and market their capabilities where theentities requiring the services of the nurse and physician assistantscan use to get in touch with them to reduce the gap created by ashortage of doctors in the country.


Mostbusinesses employ the promotional technique in marketing theirproducts and services. Through promotional methods, the entities arelikely to attract the nurses and physician assistant to help theorganizations meet their goal in maintaining health welfare of thecustomers. By using promotion technique, the nurses can connect withthe health care centers requiring the services of nurses andphysician assistants. Through promotion, nurses and other assistantscan come into contact. The nurses and physician assistant can performpromotional activities such as offering free advice and medicalassistance to hospitals and other medical providing entities.Gallagher (1996)states that, through providing medical services, the nurses andphysician assistants demonstrate their personal abilities andqualifications are therefore acting as a marketing strategy to theentities that require the services of qualified professionals.

Koumpouros,Toulias and Koumpouros (2015)state that satisfied customer can help to market the nurses andphysician assistants through demonstration of their concern for theclients. Satisfied customers can contribute to market the nurses andphysician assistant. The entities requiring services of the nursesand physician assistant can get information about their performancefrom customers. The information can help to evaluate whether thefulfilment of the nurses matches their requirement of the entities.


Lackof physician has been a common challenge affecting various countriesacross the globe. The trend is expected to continue and even becomeworse in future. Shortage of doctors has been putting pressure on theexisting medical experts. This is because the population in thecountries is still growing and therefore, increasing demand formedical attention. Various reasons have encouraged the continuedshortage of doctors including disparities in their payment, the roleof government, training institutions among others. To control oralleviate the gap in the society that comes because of shortages ofdoctors, more nurse practitioners, and physician assistants are beingrecruited in large number. The supply of nurses and the assistants ofdoctors is high, therefore, meeting the demand of the healthcarecenters.


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