Most Sports Medicine Family Physicians Have a Similar Scope of Practice to other Family Physicians

Submitted on Tue, 04/07/2020 - 16:38

Family physicians with sports medicine specialty training spend a significant amount of clinical time providing primary health care. According to a new study by the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM), a majority of Sports Medicine Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) holders spend less than 60% of their time providing sports related care. Researchers found few differences in scope of practice between sports medicine family physicians and family physicians without a CAQ with 24% of sports medicine family physicians providing inpatient care and 4% delivering babies.

Ongoing research from ABFM focusing on scope of practice for family physicians reviewed practice patterns of those with sports medicine training, an area that has not been studied for over 10 years. The study, published in Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, compared data from 299 practicing sports medicine family physicians registered for the sport medicine certification exam, with that of 458 practicing sports medicine family physicians and 15,815 practicing family physicians registered for the family medicine certification examination in 2017 and 2018. More than half of sports medicine family physicians spend 60% of their time or less practicing sports medicine, while nearly 31% spend a majority (81% to 100%) of their time focusing on sports medicine. Over two thirds of the sports medicine family physicians are team physicians—the majority for an adolescent team—and more team physicians are male (71.3%).

Examination of gender composition revealed that roughly one out of five (20%) sports medicine family physicians are female. Although this percentage has trended up from 10% in 1998 and 16% in 2008, when considering that 58% of family medicine residents are female, further investigation is warranted to understand gender differences between pursuing primary care sports medicine fellowship training. Efforts are needed to narrow the gap as female athletes continue to increase in number, many of whom may prefer gender concordant care.

While still maintaining family medicine skills by spending much of their practice time in their primary specialty, sports medicine physicians provide an important role within primary care by also treating conditions associated with general physical activity and organized team participation for patients of all ages.

The, full article, Practice Patterns of Family Physicians With and Without Sports Medicine Certification, can be found here.

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