Pediatric Otolaryngology in the United States: Demographics, Workforce Perceptions, and Current Practices

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Abstract

Objectives

To evaluate self-reported workforce needs and demands, professional activities, and the clinical practices of pediatric otolaryngologists in the United States for the purpose of better understanding the pediatric otolaryngology workforce and predicting manpower needs.

Design

A Web-based survey was sent to all members of the American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology (ASPO). It achieved a 39.3% response rate, with a total of 99 US member respondents. We compared this sample to the overall US ASPO membership to determine if our respondent cohort was representative of ASPO demographics.

Participants

All members of ASPO.

Main Outcome Measures

Responses were categorized by demographics and nature of respondent practice (academic vs private practice).

Results

Respondents were representative of the US ASPO membership. Most of the respondents practiced in an academic setting (n = 70; 70%). Academicians reported seeing a higher percentage of patients with Medicaid public insurance than did private practitioners (34% vs 25.0%) (P = .03). Academicians spent a greater portion of their time than private practitioners on research (14.4% vs 6.6% of time) (P < .001) and teaching (26.9% vs 12.8% of time) (P = .002). With the exception of choanal atresia repair, there were no differences in the types of airway, otologic, head and neck, and plastic and reconstructive surgery performed by the 2 groups. Although fewer than half of the respondents (47%; n = 44) believed that there presently is a shortage of pediatric otolaryngology manpower, most (68%; n = 63) (P = .01) believed that there would be a shortage in 5 years.

Conclusions

Pediatric otolaryngologists predict an increased demand for their services in the near future. The only differences in the clinical practices of academic and private pediatric otolaryngologists are patient payer mix and the amount of time devoted to teaching.

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