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Predicting the Pediatric Workforce: Use of Trend Analysis

Freed GL, Nahra TA, Wheeler JR
Journal of Pediatrics
Pub Med #: 

To develop a predictive model for projecting the pediatric workforce and retrospectively test its accuracy at different points in time over the past several decades.

We applied a modified version of the physician workforce trend model developed by Cooper et al. We first analyzed and tested the relationship between economic activity and the number of active pediatric medical physicians for several periods from 1963 to 2000. To project economic activity and population changes in the United States, we conducted linear trend analyses by using the available historical data through the year before the forecast period of interest.

There has been significant growth of the absolute numbers of the pediatrician workforce over the past several decades. There was a strong correlation (R2 = .98) of gross domestic product per capita (using 1996 dollars) with the number of active pediatricians (generalists and specialists) per 100,000 children in the United States by year over a 37-year period from 1963 to 2000. Predictions of pediatrician supply using historical census and economic data to inform the trend analysis were also very highly correlated with actual supply.

The methods used in this study to predict the pediatric workforce were very accurate and consistent over a 37-year period.