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Table 1 Explanation of key terms

From: Physician workforce in the United States of America: forecasting nationwide shortages

Key termsDefinition
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)The official source of labor economic and statistical data for the federal government. Through a semiannual survey, the BLS produces employment and wage estimates for 800 different occupations on the national, state, and sub-regional levels (
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)Source of age-based personal health care expenditure estimates.
Current Population Survey (CPS)CPS is a monthly survey of about 50 000 households conducted by USCB and BLS. CPS is the primary source of information on the labor force characteristics of the US population.
Report cardA collection of grades assigned to each state based on a grading rubric used for determining stated (20011) or projected (2030) physician shortage ratios.
National mean195 Physician jobs per 100 000 people. This value was based on the number of physicians in the United States of America per 100 000 people for 2011.
Personal health care expenditure (PHE)An estimate that takes into account “spending for hospital care, physician and clinical services, dental care, other professional services, home healthcare, nursing home care, and healthcare products purchased in retail outlets.” This estimate does not include spending on public health programs, health facility administration, healthcare research, and the construction of healthcare facilities (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 2018).
Physicians (including surgeons)Physicians diagnose and treat injuries and illnesses in patients. Physicians examine patients, take medical histories, prescribe medications, and order, perform, and interpret diagnostic tests. Surgeons operate on patients to treat injuries, such as broken bones; diseases, such as cancerous tumors; and deformities, such as cleft palates.
Physician jobsA worker who can be classified as a full-time or part-time physician. This is the fundamental unit of measure used to estimate physician populations and is counted through a survey conducted by the BLS every 3 years.
Physician demandThe estimated number of physician jobs needed to meet population needs.
Physician demand ratioThe number of physician jobs needed per 100 000 people.
Physician shortageThe difference between a region’s demand for physician jobs and that region’s supply of physician jobs.
Physician shortage ratioPhysician shortage per 100 000 people.
Physician supplyThe estimated number of physician jobs.
Physician supply ratioThe number of physician jobs per 100 000 people.
US Census Bureau (USCB)USCB is a government agency that is responsible for the US Census. USCB is responsible for collecting and providing relevant data about the people and economy of the United States of America.