Understanding and Managing Shortages


in the Healthcare Industry


Healthcare and Project Management 


By Dr. Deepa Bhide, MBBS, DCH, PMP

Hyderabad, India


Healthcare worldwide is only as good as its resources, especially in the healthcare industry. Shortage of the healthcare workforce poses a risk to achieving healthcare goals at all levels, global or national. According to the World Health Organization1 (WHO), there is an estimated shortfall of 10 million health workers by 2030, mostly in low- and lower-middle-income countries. Besides the workforce, a shortage of life-saving equipment, infrastructure, and medications also contribute to the failure to meet healthcare goals. In addition, healthcare emergencies such as Covid-19 posed unprecedented challenges to healthcare infrastructure, exposing gaps in public health. Regardless of the reasons and magnitude of shortages, the implications on the healthcare industry are invariably adverse.

Mitigation strategies for the shortage problem can range from a short-term initiative to plug the leak to creating a long-term plan to ensure the scalability and sustainability of the processes. In addition, solving healthcare shortages needs a concerted effort from various stakeholders, notably international, national, and local bodies. This article focuses on crucial facets of healthcare shortages, especially critical needs and risk management strategies to mitigate the situation.

Mary: Good morning, doctor. The past two conversations on the nuances of healthcare as an industry and the universe of projects in the healthcare industry have been very insightful. I particularly liked the stress on patient-centric projects that you mentioned. I am now looking at some specific topics that we can talk about.

Author: Good morning, Mary. I look forward to our discussions too. The last two conversations covered good ground from industry and healthcare projects. As we cover the upcoming topics, I request that you recall those conversations.

Mary: Sure. In our last conversation, you mentioned new project initiation. Am I correct in assuming that the healthcare industry has sufficient resources to execute them, given the speed and magnitude at which these projects are being created?

Author: Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The healthcare industry faces many shortages on multiple dimensions. Let’s focus on this topic today.

Key terms: care delivery; healthcare workforce; shortage; non-human resources; mitigation; risk management


Healthcare shortages can be classified in many ways. Majorly shortages can be classified as human and non-human resource-related shortages.

  1. Human resources, such as the healthcare workforce categories mentioned below. Based on the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO – 08)2, the following is a classification of the healthcare workforce.
    • Doctors
    • Nurses and midwifery
    • Dentists and pharmacists
    • Environmental and occupational health and hygiene staff
    • Medical and pathology assistants; physiotherapists
    • Traditional and complementary medicine professionals; community health workers

Nurses and physicians make up the most significant section of the healthcare workforce. According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics3 projects, there is a need for more than 275,000 additional nurses from 2020 to 2030. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), in their 2021 report, predicts a shortage between 37,800 and 124,000 physicians by 2034, which could include a lack of primary care and specialty physicians.

Similar shortfalls exist in other categories of the healthcare workforce. More details of workforce shortages are available at the following link from WHO – The National Health Workforce Accounts database, World Health Organization, Geneva4.


To read entire article, click here

Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of articles about project management in healthcare by Dr. Deepa Bhide, a pediatrician with additional experience in information technology and project management. Being a physician herself, she has recently experienced healthcare from a patient’s perspective while recovering from a broken ankle.  In this series, Dr. Bhide will reflect on programs, projects, and project management in various aspects of healthcare from industry, provider, and patient perspectives. Learn more about Dr. Bhide in her author profile at the end of this article.

How to cite this paper: Bhide, D. (2023). Understanding and Managing Shortages in the Healthcare Industry, Healthcare and Project Management, series article, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue IV, April. Available online at https://pmworldjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/pmwj128-Apr2023-Bhide-managing-shortages-in-healthcare-industry-series-3.pdf

About the Author

Dr. Deepa Bhide

Hyderabad, India


Dr. Deepa Bhide, MBBS, DCH, PMP, has over 20 years of professional experience where she has blended medical practice and research with IT and Project Management. She juggles consulting, training, and operations and is proficient in clinical medicine, project management, and healthcare information technology. Starting her career as a medical practitioner, she has worked with varied organizations before her current stint as director and clinical expert for Inventurus Knowledge Solutions.

Her passion for IT and Project Management was born from her day-to-day patient interactions. Deepa’s growing interest and work in these areas helped her view Project Management as a backbone of progressive healthcare. Her paper on “Patient Care – A Project Management Perspective” has received global recognition and acclaim. Deepa is an active contributor to PMI with her articles on a cross-domain confluence of Healthcare and Project Management. With a physician background as a solid foundation to leverage IT/PM skills and knowledge, Deepa has blended her broad-based experience and learnings to present a unified, holistic, wholesome view of Project Management and Healthcare. Through various webinars, events, talks, and writings across platforms, Deepa has been an evangelist in championing global project management during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A Gold medalist from Osmania University for standing First in the MBBS course and also for Human Physiology, she went ahead to pursue her DCH in Pediatrics and Child health. Deepa is an active member of their volunteer initiatives. Deepa has served a variety of roles in local and global PMI regions. The part of Council Lead for PMI’s Healthcare Community of Practice for two years (2013-15) involved identifying and mentoring volunteers and collaborating across geographies for knowledge assets. Deepa is currently a part of PMI’s Ethics Insight Team, a global team of 7 volunteers advocating PMI’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.

Deepa lives in Hyderabad, India, and loves to travel, sing and experiment with global cuisine. She can be contacted at deepabhide@gmail.com.