State Medical Boards' Perceptions of a minimum data set and current practices for collecting physician information

Aaron Young, Philip Davignon, Margaret B. Hansen, Mark A Eggen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Recent media coverage has focused on the supply of physicians in the United States, especially with the impact of a growing physician shortage and the Affordable Care Act. State medical boards and other entities maintain data on physician licensure and discipline, as well as some biographical data describing their physician populations. However, there are gaps of workforce information in these sources. The Federation of State Medical Boards' (FSMB) Census of Licensed Physicians and the AMA Masterfile, for example, offer valuable information, but they provide a limited picture of the physician workforce. Furthermore, they are unable to shed light on some of the nuances in physician availability, such as how much time physicians spend providing direct patient care. In response to these gaps, policymakers and regulators have in recent years discussed the creation of a physician minimum data set (MDS), which would be gathered periodically and would provide key physician workforce information. While proponents of an MDS believe it would provide benefits to a variety of stakeholders, an effort has not been attempted to determine whether state medical boards think it is important to collect physician workforce data and if they currently collect workforce information from licensed physicians. To learn more, the FSMB sent surveys to the executive directors at state medical boards to determine their perceptions of collecting workforce data and current practices regarding their collection of such data. The purpose of this article is to convey results from this effort. Survey findings indicate that the vast majority of boards view physician workforce information as valuable in the determination of health care needs within their state, and that various boards are already collecting some data elements. Analysis of the data confirms the potential benefits of a physician minimum data set MDS and why state medical boards are in a unique position to collect MDS information from physicians. Copyright Federation of State Medical Boards. All Rights Reserved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-45
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Medical Licensure and Discipline
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013

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