Recent Trends in the Urology Workforce in the United States

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States
Urology (Impact Factor: 2.19). 09/2013; 82(5). DOI: 10.1016/j.urology.2013.04.080
Source: PubMed


The present study examines the current status of urology physician manpower in the United States, in the context of trends in the demographics, geographic distribution, and practice make-up of urologists. Physicians were identified as surgeons and classified into surgical groups using a combination of American Medical Association primary and secondary self-reported specialties and American Board of Medical Specialties certifications. From these groups, urologic surgeons were isolated for analysis. The supply of urologists per capita has declined since 1981 - most dramatically since 1991. With an average age of 52.5 years, urology is one of the oldest surgical specialties. Over 7% of urologists are older than 70 years and 44% are older than 55 years, suggesting an aging urology workforce. The number of female urologists has grown almost a 1000-fold and represents a growing and younger cohort of the workforce. The number of rural urologists and the number of international medical graduates have continued to decline since 1981. Over the past 10 years, an increasing number of urologists are now in group practices (over 60%), and these tended to be younger and in urban settings. In contrast to most other surgical specialties, there has been a decrease in the supply of urologists relative to population growth, which is expected to be exacerbated by an aging and relatively older urology physician workforce, particularly in rural areas, a slight increase in female urologists, and the gravitation of younger urologists toward group practice in urban areas.

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    ABSTRACT: To examine initial treatments given to men with newly diagnosed lower urinary tract dysfunction (LUTD) within a large integrated health care system in the United States. We used data from 2003 to 2009 from the Veteran's Health Administration to identify newly diagnosed cases of LUTD using established ICD-9CM codes. Our primary outcome was initial LUTD treatment (3 months), categorized as watchful waiting (WW), medical therapy (MT), or surgical therapy (ST); our secondary outcome was pharmacotherapy class received. We used logistic regression models to examine patient, provider, and health system factors associated with receiving MT or ST when compared with WW. There were 393,901 incident cases of LUTD, of which 58.0% initially received WW, 41.8% MT, and 0.2% ST. Of the MT men, 79.8% received an alpha-blocker, 7.7% a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, 3.3% an anticholinergic, and 7.3% combined therapy (alpha-blocker and 5-alpha reductase inhibitor). In our regression models, we found that age (higher), race (white/black), income (low), region (northeast/south), comorbidities (greater), prostate-specific antigen (lower), and provider (nonurologist) were associated with an increased odds of receiving MT. We found that age (higher), race (white), income (low), region (northeast/south), initial provider (urologist), and prostate-specific antigen (higher) increased the odds of receiving ST. Most men with newly diagnosed LUTD in the Veteran's Health Administration receive WW, and initial surgical treatment is rare. A large number of men receiving MT were treated with monotherapy, despite evidence that combination therapy is potentially more effective in the long-term, suggesting opportunities for improvement in initial LUTD management within this population.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Urology
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