(HealthDay)—There are substantial disparities in the geographic distribution of dermatologists that are worsening with time, according to a study published online Sept. 5 in JAMA Dermatology.
Hao Feng, M.D., from New York University in New York City, and colleagues analyzed county-level data (1995 to 2013) from the Area Health Resources File to evaluate the longitudinal trends and demographic and environmental factors associated with the geographic distribution of dermatologists.
The researchers found that over the study period, dermatologist density increased by 21 percent. However, the gap between the density of dermatologists in urban and other areas increased from 2.63 to 3.06 per 100,000 people in non-metropolitan areas and from 3.41 to 4.03 in rural areas. In non-metropolitan and rural areas, the ratio of dermatologists >55 years to <55 years increased 75 percent; it increased 170 percent in metropolitan areas. Dermatologists tended to be located in well-resourced, urban communities.
"The findings suggest that substantial disparities in the geographic distribution of dermatologists exist and have been increasing with time," the authors write. "Correcting the workforce disparity is important for patient care."
Journal information: JAMA Dermatology
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