This statement is intended to assist pediatricians, health care administrators, and policymakers in evaluating an area's or a population's demand for pediatricians; it is not meant to recommend an ideal number of children per pediatrician based on need. This statement provides a variety of numbers to work with, ranging from low ratios, reflecting the number of children currently in the health care system that can be seen realistically by pediatricians (see Table), to high ratios, reflecting the current use of pediatricians by the entire population younger than 21 years of age (see the models of Miller et al8 and Hicks and Glenn6,7).
In applying the models, it is important to keep in mind the several previously discussed factors that affect the ratio of children per pediatrician. Other factors that also must be considered when examining ratios are differences in physician productivity that may vary according to gender, personal characteristics or lifestyles, and geographic location. In addition, local differences in demand for pediatric services will vary according to child health status and use of services. Finally, universal access to health care and/or managed care would increase the demand for pediatric services. Limitations in available data prevent the ability of the models to be used for subspecialty care or for outpatient care provided in hospitals.
There is currently a lack of information examining ratios, quality of care, and health outcomes. Studies linking these three issues are greatly needed. Also needed are studies that focus on the appropriate number of children per pediatric subspecialist.
- Copyright © 1996 by the American Academy of Pediatrics