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Neurology. 1999 Apr 22;52(7):1353-61.

US neurologists in the 1990's: trends in practice characteristics.

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Department of Neurology and Community and Preventive Medicine, University of Rochester, NY 14642, USA.



The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) conducts periodic surveys of its members to profile and monitor changes in the characteristics of US neurologists and their practices.


To assess neurologists' characteristics, geographic distribution, practice arrangements, professional activities, practice volume, procedures performed, sources of revenue, involvement with managed care and capitation, and other selected topics.


The AAN Member Census survey was sent to US neurologists in the fall of 1996 (response rate = 89%), and the Practice Profile survey was sent to a random sample of 1,986 US neurologists in the summer of 1997 (response rate = 55%) who had completed a Member Census survey. The results of the Practice Profile survey were compared with those of two prior surveys conducted in 1991 to 1992 and 1993 to 1994.


The mean age of US neurologists is 48 years, 18% are women, 93% are US citizens, and 24% are international medical graduates. The proportion of neurologists in solo practices, group practices, and medical schools/universities has not changed. The weekly hours worked has remained stable (58 hours), but the time spent in administrative activities has increased (p < 0.001). The average number of patient visits per week to neurologists appears to have increased (p < 0.001), as has the proportion of neurologists performing procedures (p < 0.05). The majority of neurologists have contracts with managed care organizations (82%), and a minority (32%) have capitated payment arrangements. Medicare continues to be the largest source of clinical revenue. Nearly 50% of all respondents have experience in developing clinical practice guidelines or critical pathways, and >20% of respondents employed physician extenders to assist in their practices.


Neurologists are spending more time in administrative activities, are performing or interpreting more procedures, and are seeing more patients. Neurologists' involvement with capitation is comparable with that in a nationally representative sample of physicians, and they are exploring innovative ways, such as developing practice guidelines and using physician extenders, to improve the quality and efficiency of providing neurologic care.

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