The Child Neurology Workforce Study: pediatrician access and satisfaction

J Pediatr. 2009 Apr;154(4):602-606.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2008.10.021. Epub 2008 Dec 3.


Objective: To assess the opinions of pediatricians regarding the supply and utilization of child neurologists in the United States.

Study design: A 32-item questionnaire was circulated by e-mail to a random sample of 5000 pediatricians with the assistance of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Results: After 2 mailings, 422 responses were received. Respondents ranged in age from 30 to 75 years (median 50 years), 60.4% were male, 96% were board certified in pediatrics, and 76% had a 2 or more-week rotation in child neurology during pediatric training. Approximately 79% indicated that there were few or too few child neurologists in their area, and 90% indicated that there were few or too few child neurologists in the United States. Sixty-one percent indicated that they always or almost always seek consultation from a child neurologist for a child with new onset seizures; 7% and 21% seek consultations for children with migraine or tics. The delay for child neurology consultation was 5 or more weeks in 63% and >12 weeks in 15%. Satisfaction with child neurologists was linked to the level of inter-physician communication. Neither satisfaction nor wait time influenced the frequency of consultations. Increasing level of patient complexity and parental expectations were cited as reasons for increasing numbers of consultations with child neurologists.

Conclusions: Pediatricians perceive that a work force shortage exists in child neurology. Satisfaction with child neurology consultations is linked to communication with pediatricians.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurology*
  • Pediatrics*
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • United States
  • Workforce