Boomers drive specialist medicine

Jasmine Phu

September 27, 2010

New data from the National Center for Health Statistics has revealed that, while the number of physicians is dwindling, more medical professionals are now specializing in different fields to accommodate the aging baby boomer population, according to The American Medical Association.

This shift is due to the fact that those over the age of 45 have been found to comprise the largest base of a doctor's patients in recent years. The findings show that in 1998, 46 percent of doctor's visits were comprised of this group, but that number rose to 57 percent by 2008.

The size of the baby boomer population may have something to do with the frequency of these visits, but others speculate that the recession or obesity epidemic could also be prompting more boomers to seek medical treatment.

"The baby boomers are aging and bringing with them more chronic conditions and a greater need for physician services," Donald Cherry, the brief's lead author and an NCHS statistician, told the news provider.

Specialty services have also been rising among those who are aged 65 and older, from 37 percent in 1978 to 55 percent in 2008.

Those who are concerned about their health may want to invest in a personal emergency response system. This device will allow patients to immediately contact a physician or specialist in the case of an unexpected medical complication.