• Journal Article

Population Trends and Disparities in Outpatient Utilization of Neurologists for Ischemic Stroke

Citation

Karve, S., Balkrishnan, R., Seiber, E., Nahata, M., & Levine, D. A. (2013). Population Trends and Disparities in Outpatient Utilization of Neurologists for Ischemic Stroke. Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases, 22(7), 938-945. DOI: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2011.11.004

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Inpatient stroke utilization may be decreasing over time and may vary by patient demographics. Less is known about temporal trends and demographic variations in outpatient stroke utilization. We assessed ischemic stroke (IS)-related outpatient utilization across physician specialty and time, exploring any demographic variability, using recent US population-based data. METHODS: We identified all outpatient medical visits for IS by adults (>/=18 years) using the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) years 1998 to 2009. Physician numbers were derived from American Medical Association or American Osteopathic Association data by NAMCS. We assessed IS-related outpatient visits to neurologists and generalists over time and by patient demographics. RESULTS: We identified 9.7 million IS-related visits from 1998 to 2009. The rate of IS-related visits to neurologists increased from 0.56 million visits in 1998 to 2000 to 0.90 million visits in 2007 to 2009, representing a 62% increase over the study period. The rate of IS-related visits to generalists declined from 2.0 million visits in 1998 to 2000 to 1.6 million visits in 2007 to 2009 (18% decrease). Between 1998 and 2009, the number of neurologists increased by 23% and the number of generalists grew by 19%. The IS visit rate per 100 physicians increased by 90% for neurologists but decreased by 31% for generalists. Fewer ambulatory IS-related visits to neurologists were reported among stroke survivors who were older, female, nonwhite, or living in rural areas. CONCLUSIONS: Between 1998 and 2009, IS-related outpatient utilization increased substantially to neurologists but declined to generalists. We identified demographic variations in outpatient utilization of neurologists that potentially lead to disparities in stroke evaluation and management