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National Studies of Physicians from Twenty-four Medical and Surgical Specialties, 1976-1978

Resource Type
Dataset : survey data
  • University of Southern California. School of Medicine. Division of Research in Medical Education
Other Title
  • Archival Version (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Free Keywords
ambulatory care; certification; doctor visits; health care services; job history; medical evaluation; medicine; occupations; patients; physicians; public health; treatment; work environment; working hours
  • Abstract

    This study was conducted in order to gather detailed specialty-specific data for most of the physician population of the United States. Each member of sample groups of physicians in each of 24 specialty areas completed numerically coded "log diaries" (self-enumerated questionnaires) over the course of one week during the survey data gathering period of 1976-1978. With the information obtained from the log diaries, three data files containing detailed information on the activities of the physicians surveyed and on the characteristics of their practices were prepared for each of the 24 specialty areas: allergy, cardiology, dermatology, emergency medicine, endocrinology, family practice, gastroenterology, general practice, general surgery, hematology, infectious diseases, internal medicine, nephrology, neurological surgery, neurology, obstetrics/gynecology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedic surgery, otorhinolaryngology, pediatrics, psychiatry, pulmonary diseases, and rheumatology. As a result, there are 71 discrete datafiles in this dataset (emergency medicine has only two files). Parts 1-24 contain detailed information about each physician's medical or surgical practice, e.g., specialty, major professional activity, board certifications, type of practice, physician's opinion concerning distribution of specialties in the community, number of hours per week worked and in what capacity, and type of employees in physician's practice and number of hours worked. Parts 28-48 contain data on each patient the physician saw in person during the week in which he or she kept the log diary. Parts 49-71 hold the data derived from each encounter the physician had via telephone with a patient during the same period. The data in the latter two groups of files contain patient age, sex, problem focus, role, source, and diagnoses.
  • Methods

    ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection: Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables..
  • Table of Contents


    • DS0: Study-Level Files
    • DS1: Physician Summary File, Allergy (AXX)
    • DS2: Physician Summary File, Cardiology (CDX)
    • DS3: Physician Summary File, Dermatology (DXX)
    • DS4: Physician Summary File, Emergency Medicine (EMX)
    • DS5: Physician Summary File, Endocrinology (END)
    • DS6: Physician Summary File, Family Practice (FPX)
    • DS7: Physician Summary File, Gastroenterology (GEX)
    • DS8: Physician Summary File, General Practice (GPX)
    • DS9: Physician Summary File, General Surgery (GSX)
    • DS10: Physician Summary File, Hematology (HEM)
    • DS11: Physician Summary File, Infectious Disease (IDX)
    • DS12: Physician Summary File, Internal Medicine (IMX)
    • DS13: Physician Summary File, Nephrology (NEP)
    • DS14: Physician Summary File, Neurological Surgery (NSX)
    • DS15: Physician Summary File, Neurology (NXX)
    • DS16: Physician Summary File, Obstetrics/Gynecology (OBG)
    • DS17: Physician Summary File, Oncology (ONC/ONX)
    • DS18: Physician Summary File, Ophthalmology (OPH)
    • DS19: Physician Summary File, Orthopaedic Surgery (ORS)
    • DS20: Physician Summary File, Otorhinolaryngology (OTO)
    • DS21: Physician Summary File, Pediatrics (PDX)
    • DS22: Physician Summary File, Psychiatry (PXX)
    • DS23: Physician Summary File, Pulmonary Disease (PUD)
    • DS24: Physician Summary File, Rheumatology (RHU)
    • DS25: Patient Encounter File, Allergy (AXX)
    • DS26: Patient Encounter File, Cardiology (CDX)
    • DS27: Patient Encounter File, Dermatology (DXX)
    • DS28: Patient Encounter File, Emergency Medicine (EMX)
    • DS29: Patient Encounter File, Endocrinology (END)
    • DS30: Patient Encounter File, Family Practice (FPX)
    • DS31: Patient Encounter File, Gastroenterology (GEX)
    • DS32: Patient Encounter File, General Practice (GPX)
    • DS33: Patient Encounter File, General Surgery (GSX)
    • DS34: Patient Encounter File, Hematology (HEM)
    • DS35: Patient Encounter File, Infectious Diseases (IDX)
    • DS36: Patient Encounter File, Internal Medicine (IMX)
    • DS37: Patient Encounter File, Nephrology (NEP)
    • DS38: Patient Encounter File, Neurological Surgery (NSX)
    • DS39: Patient Encounter File, Neurology (NXX)
    • DS40: Patient Encounter File, Obstetrics/Gynecology (OBG)
    • DS41: Patient Encounter File, Oncology (ONC/ONX)
    • DS42: Patient Encounter File, Ophthalmology (OPH)
    • DS43: Patient Encounter File, Orthopaedic Surgery (ORS)
    • DS44: Patient Encounter File, Otorhinolaryngology (OTO)
    • DS45: Patient Encounter File, Pediatrics (PDX)
    • DS46: Patient Encounter File, Psychiatry (PXX)
    • DS47: Patient Encounter File, Pulmonary Diseases (PUD)
    • DS48: Patient Encounter File, Rheumatology (RHU)
    • DS49: Telephone Encounter File, Allergy (AXX)
    • DS50: Telephone Encounter File, Cardiology (CDX)
    • DS51: Telephone Encounter File, Dermatology (DXX)
    • DS52: Telephone Encounter File, Endocrinology (END)
    • DS53: Telephone Encounter File, Family Practice (FPX)
    • DS54: Telephone Encounter File, Gastroenterology (GEX)
    • DS55: Telephone Encounter File, General Practice (GPX)
    • DS56: Telephone Encounter File, General Surgery (GSX)
    • DS57: Telephone Encounter File, Hematology (HEM)
    • DS58: Telephone Encounter File, Infectious Diseases (IDX)
    • DS59: Telephone Encounter File, Internal Medicine (IMX)
    • DS60: Telephone Encounter File, Nephrology (NEP)
    • DS61: Telephone Encounter File, Neurological Surgery (NSX)
    • DS62: Telephone Encounter File, Neurology (NXX)
    • DS63: Telephone Encounter File, Obstetrics/Gynecology (OBG)
    • DS64: Telephone Encounter File, Oncology (ONC/ONX)
    • DS65: Telephone Encounter File, Ophthalmology (OPH)
    • DS66: Telephone Encounter File, Orthopaedic Surgery (ORS)
    • DS67: Telephone Encounter File, Otorhinolaryngology (OTO)
    • DS68: Telephone Encounter File, Pediatrics (PDX)
    • DS69: Telephone Encounter File, Psychiatry (PXX)
    • DS70: Telephone Encounter File, Pulmonary Diseases (PUD)
    • DS71: Telephone Encounter File, Rheumatology (RHU)
Temporal Coverage
  • 1976 / 1978
    Time period: 1976--1978
  • 1976 / 1978
    Collection date: 1976--1978
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
Sampled Universe
All active, non-federal physicians (excluding interns) in the United States who could be classified by the American Medical Association's Physician Masterfile according to major professional activity.
In the stratified random sample, the number of physicians sampled ranged from approximately 150 to 900 per specialty, the number of recorded patient encounters ranged from approximately 3,000 to 36,000 per specialty, and the number of telephone contacts with patients ranged from approximately 700 to 11,000 per specialty.
Collection Mode
  • The specialty, emergency medicine, has only two files because no patient telephone contacts were made due to the nature of that specialty.

    Research methods, including study purposes, detailed descriptions of the study instrument, and sampling strategy and methods, can be found in the two-part JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (JAMA) article entitled "A National Study of Medical and Surgical Specialties" (see RELATED.PUBS).

    The docoumentation (including codebooks for Parts 1-24 which are not available on-line) are available on microfiche cards with four fiche cards per specialty, enabling users to request one or all of the 24 specialties from ICPSR User Services.

2006-01-18 File DOC7782.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads. Funding insitution(s): Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (5431).
This version of the study is no longer available on the web. If you need to acquire this version of the data, you have to contact ICPSR User Support (
Alternative Identifiers
  • 7782 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR07782.v1
  • Mendenhall, Robert C., Girard, R.A., Abrahamson, S.. A national study of medical and surgical specialties. I. Background purpose, and methodology. JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association.240, (9), 848-852.1978.
    • ID: 10.1001/jama.240.9.848 (DOI)
  • Mendenhall, Robert C., Lloyd, J.S., Repicky, P.A., Monson, J.R., Girard, R.A., Abrahamson, S.. A national study of medical and surgical specialties. II. Description of the survey instrument. JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association.240, (11), 1160-1168.1978.
    • ID: 10.1001/jama.240.11.1160 (DOI)

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 6 | Registration Date: 2015-06-15

University of Southern California. School of Medicine. Division of Research in Medical Education (1984): National Studies of Physicians from Twenty-four Medical and Surgical Specialties, 1976-1978. Archival Version. Version: v0. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.