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Indicator Details: Counts of Nephrologistsa
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  • AMA

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a Adapted from the American Medical Association (2001-2015).

In 2013, 9,007 physicians in the United States claimed nephrology as their specialty.

This translates to ~1 nephrologist per 1,666 adult U.S. residents with advanced CKD (stages 3 to 4).
Chart Explanation: 
A total of 9,007 U.S. physicians claimed nephrology as their specialty in 2013, which represents an increase of >4,200 (91% increase) since 1999. Despite this, there were about 1,666 patients with advanced CKD (stages 3 to 4) per nephrologist in 2013, using NHANES and USRDS estimates.
The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) cohort study, sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, began in 1987 and 15,972 participants were included, aged 45-64. ARIC participants were a population-based sample at four sites representing urban, suburban, and rural settings; and men, women, blacks, and whites (Forsyth County, NC; Jackson, MI; Minneapolis, MN; Washington County, MD). As with all cohort studies, participants may not be representative of all those who live in the communities for which they are recruited. Participants were examined every 3 years for a total of four study visits. Both serum creatinine and albuminuria were assessed at Visit 4 (1997-1999) and mortality in ARIC participants was followed by several sources, including the National Death Index, through 2004. Albuminuria was categorized by urinary albumin:creatinine ratio as: normal, <30 mg/g; microalbuminuria, 30-299 mg/g; and macroalbuminuria, ≥300 mg/g.

The American Medical Association (AMA) tracks data on all physicians in the United States, starting in medical school. Current demographic, training, practice and specialty data are available through the AMA Physician Masterfile. The Physician Characteristics volumes (AMA, 2001-2015) produce yearly counts of physicians by specialty, and counts of physicians listed as “providing medical care” (versus research, teaching, or administrative tasks) were counted here; resident/fellow/staff and office- and hospital-based physicians were included.
Description of MeasureNumbers of primary care physicians and nephrologists
Data SourceAMA
Type of Data SourcePrivate
Data SetPhysician Masterfile
Health Care System DataNo
Regional or National?National
Demographic GroupAMA physicians
NumeratorCounts by physician specialty
Primary Data Source IndicatorCounts by physician specialty
Primary Indicator Method of MeasurementPhysician-reported specialty
Frequency of Measurement (Primary)Continual updates
U.S. Region Covered by Primary VariableAll
Period Currently Available2013
Pending Data2014
Additional Data Items of InterestPhysician demographics, training
Limitations of IndicatorPhysicians may not keep information current; not all physicians are members of AMA and thus may be harder to track over time; specialty is self-reported and may not reflect patient care
Analytic ConsiderationsCKD/ESRD prevalence data can be used for population denominator (per patient); only those listed as providing patient care should be included
References and Sources:
  • Smart DR. Physician Characteristics and Distribution in the US, 2010 Edition. Chicago, IL: Division of Survey & Data Resources, American Medical Association; 2009.

Suggested Citation:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic Kidney Disease Surveillance System—United States.
website. http://www.cdc.gov/ckd