Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Acad Emerg Med. 2008 Dec;15(12):1317-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.2008.00264.x. Epub 2008 Oct 17.

Assessment of emergency physician workforce needs in the United States, 2005.

Author information

  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.



The objective was to estimate emergency physician (EP) workforce needs, taking into account the diversity of U.S. emergency departments (EDs) and various projections of EP supply and demand.


The 2005 National ED Inventory-USA ( provided annual visit volumes for 4,828 U.S. EDs. The authors calculated annual supply based on existing emergency medicine (EM) board-certified EPs, adding newly board-certified EPs, and subtracting board-certified EPs who died or retired. Demand was estimated at each ED by dividing the number of visits by the average EP volume (based on 2.8 patients/hour, 40 hours/week, and 34% nonclinical time). The models assumed that at least 1 EP should be present 24/7 in each ED, which would require at least 5.35 full-time equivalents (FTEs) per ED. Based on annual EP attrition estimates, results for best-case, worst-case, and intermediate scenarios were calculated.


In 2005, there were approximately 22,000 EM board-certified EPs, but 40,030 EPs would be needed to staff all 4,828 EDs (55% of demand met). A total of 2,492 (52%) EDs had a visit volume that required the minimum number (5.35) FTEs, of which 47% were rural. In the unrealistic (no attrition), best-case scenario, it would take until 2019 to staff all EDs with board-certified EPs. In the worst-case scenario (12% attrition), supply would never meet demand. Our intermediate scenario (2.5% attrition) suggested that board-certified EPs would satisfy workforce needs in 2038.


Supply of EM residency-trained, board-certified EPs is not likely to meet demand in the near future. Alternative EP staffing arrangements merit further consideration.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley
    Loading ...
    Support Center