AAOS: Unemployment Rate Tied to Orthopedic Trauma Volume

Inverse correlation between orthopedic trauma surgical volume, unemployment for previous year

TUESDAY, Feb. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Economic factors impact orthopedic trauma volume, with the unemployment rate for the previous year being the best predictor of volume, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, held from Feb. 7 to 11 in San Francisco.

Daniel S. Chan, M.D., and colleagues from the Florida Orthopaedic Institute in Tampa, conducted a retrospective analysis of their trauma registry from 2001 to 2009, to investigate the impact of the economy on orthopedic trauma volume.

The researchers found that, over the decade, the local county annual population growth varied between 0.9 and 2.9 percent. Economic indicators during the same period were highly variable, with the unemployment rate peaking at 5.4 percent in 2002 and reaching a low point of 3.3 percent in 2006, and then increasing again to 10.7 percent in 2009. Employment of construction workers and county building permits correlated with these trends, peaking in 2006 and dropping by 2009. The changes in trauma volume correlated most closely with the county's unemployment rate. There was a significant negative association between orthopedic trauma surgical cases and the county unemployment rate of the previous year (Pearson correlation coefficient, −0.84; P = 0.0098).

"The county unemployment rate is inversely related to our level-one trauma center's orthopaedic trauma surgical volume and demonstrates a one-year lag effect," the authors write.

Abstract No. P474
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