The Neurology Dilemma

The Neurology Dilemma

What’s the neurology dilemma?

Neurologists are currently the most consulted physician specialists across health care systems. This is according to Becker’s Hospital Review, a leading and nationally recognized publication for hospital business news and analysis.

Neurologists are busy and they are in demand.

Indeed, neurologists are some of the busiest health care providers in the medical system. Multiple health care providers and their patients frequently seek communication, consultation, medical guidance and information for problems and health conditions related to the human nervous system.  

The Becker’s report confirms that neurologists are the top medical specialty in demand in the US in 2021. The global demand for neurology expertise is even greater.

According to the 2017 World Health Organization and the World Federation of Neurology Atlas: Country Resources for Neurological Disorders, the United States has approximately: 5 neurologists per 100,000 people.

In contrast, there are only approximately 3 neurologists per 10 million people in low-income countries.

How are health care systems affected by the neurology dilemma?

Neurology specialists and their partner provider systems are currently experiencing a continuous, unprecedented rise in the volume of neurology patient referrals.

This growing trend is projected to continue based on some of the following factors:

  • The rise in the aging population and the disease burden within this population
  • The rise in chronic illnesses that impact brain and nervous system function
  • The shortage of neurology medical professionals available to treat neurological problems

How are people in need of neurology expert care affected by the current neurology situation?

According to McCarron et al. Clinical Neurol Neurosurg, 2020, the absence of neurologists worldwide has both:

  • Negatively affected general access to specialty care for the nervous system
  • Increased the reliance on primary care doctors with limited neurology training to evaluate and treat patients with complex brain and nerve conditions.

The current state of neurological healthcare poses a dilemma for both health care providers and patients.