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Evaluation of rheumatology workforce supply changes in Ontario, Canada, from 2000 to 2030

Widdifield J, Bernatsky S, Pope JE, Kuriya B, Barber CEH, Eder L, Ahluwalia V, Ling V, Gozdyra P, Hofstetter C, Lyddiatt A, Paterson JM, Thorne C. Healthc Policy. 2021; 16(3):119-35. Epub 2021 Feb 1. DOI:

Rheumatology workforces are increasingly challenged by too few physicians in face of the growing burden of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs). Rheumatology is one of the most frequent non-surgical specialty referrals and has the longest wait times for subspecialists. We used a population-based approach to describe changes in the rheumatology workforce, patient volumes and geographic variation in the supply of and access to rheumatologists, in Ontario, Canada, between 2000 and 2019, and projected changes in supply by 2030. Over time, we observed greater feminization of the workforce and increasing age of workforce members. We identified a large regional variation in rheumatology supply. Fewer new patients are seen annually, which likely contributes to increasing wait times and reduced access to care. Strategies and policies to raise the critical mass and improve regional distribution of supply to effectively provide rheumatology care and support the healthcare delivery of patients with RMDs are needed.

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