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Retirement Decisions & Workforce Implications in Anesthesiology

Retirement Decisions & Workforce Implications in Anesthesiology

Anesthesiology is one of 21 medical specialties in the United States that is currently experiencing a physician shortage or expected to have one in the near future. The causes of physician workforce shortages are multifactorial and include the aging physician population, burdensome debt from medical school, a static production of new physicians, and reduced physician work hours, among others. Expectations for work–life balance, hours spent at work, a culture involving high stress, and burnout are other key contributors to physician shortages. “It’s important to increase our understanding of the issues contributing to the physician shortage in anesthesiology,” says Fredrick K. Orkin, MD, MBA, SM. “By identifying practice patterns and retirement plans of older anesthesiologists, we can use this information to guide how we manage consequences resulting from the undersupply of these specialists. These data could also be used by physicians and their employers to prepare for shortages in the future.” Analyzing Trends in Retirement A study published in Anesthesiology by Dr. Orkin and colleagues surveyed thousands of anesthesiologists and other specialists aged 50 and older to determine trends in work activities, professional satisfaction, health and financial status, and retirement plans and perspectives. The goals included identifying the major factors influencing decisions to continue practicing or to retire and evaluating the impact of retirement decision making on the size of the current and future workforce. Several important findings emerged from the study by Dr. Orkin and colleagues. First, older physicians logged significantly more hours of work during the week than other professionals. On average, older anesthesiologists and other older physicians worked about the same number of hours per week (49.4),...
Comparing Rural and Urban Care in HIV

Comparing Rural and Urban Care in HIV

Research suggests that the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS in rural areas of the United States differs from that of urban and peri-urban areas. Small studies have found that sub-populations in rural areas may be less likely to receive quality care and achieve optimal HIV outcomes when compared with individuals living in urban areas. However, generalizing HIV/AIDS care in rural areas may be misguided because each has its own unique characteristics. Concern is growing in the research community that patients in non-urban settings may be underrepresented in studies with regard to demographics and healthcare utilization. Trials typically draw more from urban populations because of easier access to participants and because HIV specialists and academic centers tend to be located in urban areas. Seeking Better Representation of HIV Care A study published in the August 2011 issue of AIDS Care examined the impact of geographic location—specifically urban, peri-urban, and rural locations—on clinical HIV outcomes using data from a multistate cohort. “The main caveat of the study is that the vast majority of rural and peri-urban patients actually received their care in urban areas,” says Lucy E. Wilson, MD, ScM, lead researcher of the investigation. “These patients may be very different from those who received all their HIV care in rural areas.”               The authors found that people who were living with HIV/AIDS in rural and peri-urban settings and traveled to urban areas for their care received a high level of appropriate HIV care and had similar rates of AIDS-defining illnesses when compared with patients living in urban areas. For the study, receipt of appropriate HIV care...
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