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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Marian T. Simonson, MSLS (Cleveland Clinic Foundation)
Description: This annual publication of the American Medical Association provides statistical data on physicians in the United States and its possessions. The 2012 edition is based on data from the AMA's Physician Masterfile database as of December 31, 2010.
Purpose: It provides summaries and detailed statistics on physician supply that can be used for planning, research, and comparative analyses. This is a rich data source, collected annually by an authoritative organization. Because this series began in 1963, there is a wealth of information that can be used to run comparative analyses and trend reports.
Audience: Any individual, group, or organization that studies trends in physician characteristics and supply will benefit from this book. This is a standard reference for most health sciences libraries.
Features: The book is divided into six chapters, plus appendixes, that list tables with statistics from the AMA's Physician Masterfile database as of December 31, 2010. Data is available for age, sex, race, location, specialty, and medical school, to name a few. Each chapter begins with an analysis of the physician characteristics that are described in the chapter. This analysis provides an overview and summary of the data to help interpret the tables. Of special importance is the chapter analyzing primary care specialties and its influence on the U.S. healthcare system. It is helpful that data on osteopathic physicians and international medical graduates are part of the publication to allow for comparative analyses.
Assessment: To my knowledge, data on physician characteristics is not available in such depth from any other source. Hospital and academic libraries should consider this a standard reference for their collections. If users can't find the data they need in the print publication, they can contact the AMA to request special reports.