Workforce analysis in orthopaedic surgery: How can we improve the accuracy of our predictions?

Frances A. Farley*, James Neil Weinstein, Gordon M. Aamoth, Matthew S. Shapiro, Joshua Jacobs, Joseph C. Mccarthy, Jeffrey Kramer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Since the 1970s, workforce analysis for orthopaedic surgery has predicted a surplus of physicians into the 21st century. In 1998, the RAND study predicted a surplus of 4,100 orthopaedists in 2010. As we approach 2010, we find no surplus. The projected population growth during the next 20 years of those older than age 65 years presupposes a greater need for orthopaedists, given an increase in degenerative disease and fragility fractures associated with aging. The federal government predicts an overall shortage of physicians by 2020. Given the current nature of workforce analysis models and the concerns evoked by these disparate predictions, we, the authors, advocate change. Rather than large studies separated by decades, we recommend routine monitoring of the orthopaedic workforce. Further, we suggest that national, regional, and local organizations, as well as subspecialty societies, work together to monitor current and future orthopaedic workforce needs. Orthopaedic organizations should develop collaborative relationships with experts in the field and devise a true working model that allows for ongoing strategic planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-273
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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