National Studies of Physicians from Twenty-four Medical and Surgical Specialties, 1976-1978 (ICPSR 7782)

Published: Jan 18, 2006

Principal Investigator(s):
University of Southern California. School of Medicine. Division of Research in Medical Education

Version V1

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.

University of Southern California. School of Medicine. Division of Research in Medical Education. National Studies of Physicians from Twenty-four Medical and Surgical Specialties, 1976-1978. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2006-01-18.

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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (5431)

1976 -- 1978

1976 -- 1978

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.

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 specialty, emergency medicine, has only two files because no patient telephone contacts were made due to the nature of that specialty.

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.

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.

self-enumerated questionnaires

survey data



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.

1984-05-03 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.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.
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This study is maintained and distributed by the Health and Medical Care Archive (HMCA). HMCA is the official data archive of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.