Regional and Gender Differences and Trends in the Anesthesiologist Workforce

Published in: Anesthesiology, 2015

Posted on RAND.org on October 19, 2015

by Matthew D. Baird, Lindsay Daugherty, Krishna B. Kumar, Aziza Arifkhanova

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BACKGROUND: Concerns have long existed about potential shortages in the anesthesiologist workforce. In addition, many changes have occurred in the economy, demographics, and the healthcare sector in the last few years, which may impact the workforce. The authors documented workforce trends by region of the United States and gender, trends that may have implications for the supply and demand of anesthesiologists. METHODS: The authors conducted a national survey of American Society of Anesthesiologists members (accounting for >80% of all practicing anesthesiologists in the United States) in 2007 and repeated it in 2013. The authors used logistic regression analysis and Seemingly Unrelated Regression to test across several indicators under an overarching hypothesis. RESULTS: Anesthesiologists in Western states had markedly different patterns of practice relative to anesthesiologists in other regions in 2007 and 2013, including differences in employer type, the composition of anesthesia teams, and the time spent on monitored anesthesia care. The number and proportion of female anesthesiologists in the workforce increased between 2007 and 2013, and females differed from males in employment arrangements, compensation, and work hours. CONCLUSIONS: Regional differences remained stable during this time period although the reasons for these differences are speculative. Similarly, how and whether the gender difference in work hours and shift to younger anesthesiologists during this period will impact workforce needs is uncertain.

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