Editor’s note: Alissa Algarin is research director at Olson Research Group. 

For the past three years, Intellus Worldwide has conducted a “Trends and Futures” survey to track the ever-changing pharmaceutical marketplace and uncover industry trends.1 Wave 3 (Q1 2022) was conducted among a sample of health care market researchers at biopharmaceutical and health care companies (industry), as well as market research, data, technology and sample providers (agency).  

Even before COVID, there were concerns about a decreasing number of physicians and a looming shortage. Today, with the resulting stress, burnout and health care providers leaving the field it is an increasingly worse problem.

“The U.S. faces a projected shortage of between 37,800 and 124,000 physicians within 12 years, according to The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand: Projections From 2019 to 2034 (PDF), a report released by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).”

Doctor shortages are here – and they’ll get worse if we don’t act fast | American Medical Association (ama-assn.org).

The impact of this problem is top-of-mind among health care marketing researchers as well. Among the top overall trends2 tracked by Intellus over the past three years, agreement increased significantly for only one:

“NP/PA and RNs will have more autonomous patient engagement”

Agreement with this trend around nurse practitioners (NP), physician assistants (PA) and registered nurses (RN) was the highest among overall trends for 2022 (63% top 3 box) and increased significantly from 2021 (48%).

This trend was also called out on an unaided basis. A director at a large pharmaceutical company cited the “Continued rise of non-HCP Dx and Rx (NP, PA, PharmD)” as a top trend for the coming three years.

NPs/PAs will increasingly be the primary health care provider for patients. Physicians interviewed as part o...