Size and age-sex distribution of pediatric practice: a study from Pediatric Research in Office Settings

Journal Name: 
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med
OBJECTIVES: To estimate (1) the average number of patients per practitioner in Pediatric Research in Office Settings, the national practice-based research network of the American Academy of Pediatrics; (2) the total number of active patients cared for in the network; and (3) the age-sex distribution of patients seen in pediatric practice. SETTING: Eighty-nine practices in 31 states with 373 Pediatric Research in Office Settings practitioners (59% of Pediatric Research in Office Settings members). METHODS: Practices were asked to enumerate the number of patients visiting the practice during the 2-year period from January 1, 1991, through December 31, 1992. Patients making multiple visits were counted only once, resulting in a patient count rather than a visit count. Age-sex registers were completed using computer billing records or medical record sampling. RESULTS: Study participants cared for 529513 active patients (50.7% male). Each practitioner cared for an average of 1546 patients. The number of patients per practitioner was significantly higher in less-populated areas and in solo practices. Children aged 12 years and younger comprised 81% of the patients seen by Pediatric Research in Office Settings practitioners, and more than half of the children were aged 6 years or younger. Before age 5 years, boys accounted for a slightly, but significantly, higher number of patients, whereas after age 14 years, girls comprised a significantly larger proportion of patients. CONCLUSIONS: The average number of 1546 patients per practitioner derived from these private practice data is in line with health maintenance organization-based estimates. Pediatric practitioners predominantly serve younger children. These data provide the only current national estimates of the size and age-sex distribution of independent pediatric practices, and can help pediatricians and health service researchers plan for the future provision of health care to children
Adolescent, Age Distribution, Aged, Child, Child Health Services, Child,Preschool, computer, Female, Health, health care, Human, Male, medical, Methods, patient, Patients, Pediatrics, Physician's Practice Patterns, Private Practice, PROS, Record, Records, Research, sampling, Sex Distribution, statistics & numerical data, Support,Non-U.S.Gov't, Support,U.S.Gov't,P.H.S., United States