Supply and Demand Analysis of the Orthopaedic Trauma Surgeon Workforce in the United States

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Abstract

Objective:

To investigate recent trends in the orthopaedic trauma workforce and to assess whether supply of orthopaedic trauma surgeons (OTS) matches the demand for their skills.

Methods:

Supply estimated using Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA) membership and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons census data. The annual number of operative pelvic and acetabular fractures reported by American College of Surgeons verified trauma centers in the National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB) was used as a surrogate of demand. Because surrogates were used, the annual rate of change in OTA membership versus rate of change in operative injuries per NTDB center was compared.

Results:

From 2002 to 2012, reported operative pelvic and acetabular injuries increased by an average of 21.0% per year. The number of reporting trauma centers increased by 27.2% per year. The number of OTA members increased each year except in 2009, with mean annual increase of 9.8%. The mean number of orthopaedic surgeons per NTDB center increased from 7.98 to 8.58, an average of 1.5% per year. The annual number of operative pelvic and acetabular fractures per NTDB center decreased from 27.1 in 2002 to 19.03 in 2012, down 2.0% per year.

Conclusions:

In the United States, from 2002 to 2012, the number of OTS trended upward, whereas operative pelvic and acetabular cases per reporting NTDB center declined. These trends suggest a net loss of such cases per OTS over this period.

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