Background: Interest in the field of allergy/immunology (A/I) is increasing, yet resident training programs are under pressure to shorten elective rotations such as A/I. It is unclear if there are differences between those who have and have not taken an A/I rotation.
Objective: To evaluate differences in the attitudes, opinions, and referral patterns between physicians who have and have not taken an A/I rotation.
Methods: An anonymous questionnaire was sent to 375 primary care physicians at one academic medical center. Subjects were separated into 5 cohorts based on specialty and level of training (internal medicine faculty, internal medicine resident, pediatric faculty, pediatric resident, and internal medicine-pediatric resident).
Results: Of the participants, 227 (61.0%) completed the survey. Compared with those who had not taken an A/I rotation, those who had taken an A/I rotation were more likely to feel they knew the types of cases seen by an allergist (75.9% vs 33.3%), to feel they knew an adequate amount about A/I (59.3% vs 19.5%), to feel they were exposed to an adequate amount of A/I during residency (64.8% vs 9.8%), to view immunotherapy as effective (70.0% vs 52.3%), and to have referred a patient to an allergist (77.8% vs 46.0%).
Conclusions: There are significant differences in the attitudes, opinions, and referral patterns between physicians who have and have not taken an A/I rotation. Allergic diseases are increasing, yet residency training programs are under pressure to shorten rotations such as A/I to accommodate federally mandated work hour restrictions. The potential for inadequate care of allergic diseases may be an important issue if these trends continue.