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The Pediatric Anesthesiology Workforce: Projecting Supply and Trends 2015–2035

Muffly, Matthew K. MD; Singleton, Mark MD; Agarwal, Rita MD, FAAP; Scheinker, David PhD; Miller, Daniel BS; Muffly, Tyler M. MD; Honkanen, Anita MD, MS, FAAP
doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000002535
Research Report: PDF Only

BACKGROUND:

A workforce analysis was conducted to predict whether the projected future supply of pediatric anesthesiologists is balanced with the requirements of the inpatient pediatric population. The specific aims of our analysis were to (1) project the number of pediatric anesthesiologists in the future workforce; (2) project pediatric anesthesiologist-to-pediatric population ratios (0–17 years); (3) project the mean number of inpatient pediatric procedures per pediatric anesthesiologist; and (4) evaluate the effect of alternative projections of individual variables on the model projections through 2035.

METHODS:

The future number of pediatric anesthesiologists is determined by the current supply, additions to the workforce, and departures from the workforce. We previously compiled a database of US pediatric anesthesiologists in the base year of 2015. The historical linear growth rate for pediatric anesthesiology fellowship positions was determined using the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Data Resource Books from 2002 to 2016. The future number of pediatric anesthesiologists in the workforce was projected given growth of pediatric anesthesiology fellowship positions at the historical linear growth rate, modeling that 75% of graduating fellows remain in the pediatric anesthesiology workforce, and anesthesiologists retire at the current mean retirement age of 64 years old. The baseline model projections were accompanied by age- and gender-adjusted anesthesiologist supply, and sensitivity analyses of potential variations in fellowship position growth, retirement, pediatric population, inpatient surgery, and market share to evaluate the effect of each model variable on the baseline model. The projected ratio of pediatric anesthesiologists to pediatric population was determined using the 2012 US Census pediatric population projections. The projected number of inpatient pediatric procedures per pediatric anesthesiologist was determined using the Kids’ Inpatient Database historical data to project the future number of inpatient procedures (including out of operating room procedures).

RESULTS:

In 2015, there were 5.4 pediatric anesthesiologists per 100,000 pediatric population and a mean (±standard deviation [SD]) of 262 ±8 inpatient procedures per pediatric anesthesiologist. If historical trends continue, there will be an estimated 7.4 pediatric anesthesiologists per 100,000 pediatric population and a mean (±SD) 193 ±6 inpatient procedures per pediatric anesthesiologist in 2035. If pediatric anesthesiology fellowship positions plateau at 2015 levels, there will be an estimated 5.7 pediatric anesthesiologists per 100,000 pediatric population and a mean (±SD) 248 ±7 inpatient procedures per pediatric anesthesiologist in 2035.

CONCLUSIONS:

If historical trends continue, the growth in pediatric anesthesiologist supply may exceed the growth in both the pediatric population and inpatient procedures in the 20-year period from 2015 to 2035.

Accepted for publication August 24, 2017.

Funding: None.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s website (www.anesthesia-analgesia.org).

Reprints will not be available from the authors.

Address correspondence to Matthew K. Muffly, MD, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Stanford University Medical Center, 300 Pasteur Dr H3580, Stanford, CA 94305. Address e-mail to mmuffly@stanford.edu.

© 2017 International Anesthesia Research Society

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