According to research published May 18 in JAMA Network Open, most areas in the US do not have access to pediatric emergency care physicians.
Using a national physician database, researchers surveyed 2,403 pediatric emergency care physicians who were clinically active in 2020.
Findings showed that 99 percent of pediatric EPs were practiced in urban areas, and less than 1 percent of U.S. counties had four or more specialist physicians per 100,000 residents.
According to the study, Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming had no pediatric EPs, while Alaska, New Mexico, and North Dakota had the doctors in one county.
Those who worked in urban areas were usually younger, with a mean age of 46 years, while the mean age of rural pediatric EPs was 59.
Pediatric MEPs working in rural areas were also more likely to have completed their medical education 20 or more years ago than those in urban areas.
In rural areas, 48 percent of doctors were certified in pediatrics, compared to 68 percent in urban areas.
“Given that nearly all of the pediatric EPs reporting working in urban areas and rural pediatric EPs were older, we expect an increasing shortage of pediatric EPs in the already disadvantaged regions of the country,” said researchers. “We encourage the use of new approaches, such as telecediatrics, to improve access to quality pediatric emergency care in rural areas.”
To view the full findings, click here.
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