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Obstetrics and Gynecology Practices and Patient Insurance Type

Published:April 05, 2013DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.whi.2013.01.003

      Abstract

      Background

      Despite research on health disparities based on insurance status, little is known about the differences in practice patterns among physicians who cater to privately and non-privately insured patients. The aim of this study was to assess how obstetrician–gynecologists (ob-gyns) who primarily see patients with private insurance differ from those who see mainly uninsured or publicly insured patients. This could be informative of the needs of these two groups of physicians and patients.

      Methods

      A questionnaire was mailed or emailed to 1,000 members of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 600 of whom participate in the Collaborative Ambulatory Research Network.

      Findings

      A 56.4% response rate was obtained. Of the valid responders, the 335 reported providing care to a majority of patients with private insurance (“private group”) and the 105 reported providing care to mostly publicly insured or uninsured patients (“non-private group”) were included in our analyses. Differences between groups included that the private group was more likely to see patients before their becoming pregnant and spent more time on well-woman care. The private group was more likely to see patients who are White, Asian, or between the ages of 45 and 64. The non-private group was more likely to see Hispanic patients and those under age 18.

      Conclusion

      Results reveal that ob-gyns who see mostly privately insured patients have different clinical experiences than those who see mainly uninsured or publicly insured patients in terms of patient characteristics, preconception care, distribution of time on activities, and the of likelihood performing certain procedures and screening tests.

      Introduction

      The level of access to health care in the United States is highly variable based on location and insurance type. Individuals with private insurance tend to have better health outcomes on a number of measures as well as superior preventative care when compared to those without insurance or who rely on public health insurance (
      • DeVoe J.E.
      • Fryer G.E.
      • Phillips R.
      • Green L.
      Receipt of preventative care among adults: Insurance status and usual source of care.
      ). In addition, those with private insurance tend to have more access to specialist referrals (
      • Ferrer R.L.
      Pursuing equity: Contact with primary care and specialist clinicians by demographics, insurance, and health status.
      ) and to have a better generalized care experience (
      • Shi L.
      Type of health insurance and the quality of primary care experience.
      ). Those individuals who are uninsured or covered by public insurance tend to be more likely to delay seeking care (
      • Hoffman C.
      • Paradise J.
      Health insurance and access to health care in the United States.
      ;
      • Sox C.M.
      • Swartz K.
      • Burstin H.R.
      • Brennan T.A.
      Which is the most powerful predictor of health care?.
      ). Those individuals who lack health insurance are also more likely to see an overall decline in health as they approach middle age (
      • Baker S.W.
      • Sudano J.J.
      • Albert J.M.
      • Borawski E.A.
      • Dor A.
      Lack of health insurance and decline in overall health in late middle age.
      ;
      • Hoffman C.
      • Paradise J.
      Health insurance and access to health care in the United States.
      ). Some of these disparities, particularly in access to preventative care, are particularly pronounced in women (
      • Sambamoorthi U.
      • McAlpine D.D.
      Racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and access disparities in the use of preventative services among women.
      ).
      Accessing obstetrician–gynecologist (ob-gyn) care before pregnancy has been linked to better pregnancy outcomes that can improve health of offspring as well as better overall health for women (
      • Hillemeier M.M.
      • Weisman C.S.
      • Chase G.A.
      • Dyer A.
      • Schaffer M.L.
      Women's preconceptional health and use of health services: Implications for preconception care.
      ;
      • Korenbrot C.C.
      • Steinberg A.
      • Bender C.
      • Newberry S.
      Preconception care: A systematic review.
      ). Previous studies have found that access to prenatal care depends on many external factors, including a woman's insurance status. These studies have found that uninsured women and women covered by public insurance have less access to prenatal care than do privately insured women (
      • U.S. General Accounting Office
      Prenatal care: Medicaid recipients and uninsured women obtain insufficient care.
      ;
      • Oberg C.N.
      • Lia-Hoagberg B.
      • Hodkinson E.
      • Skovholt C.
      • Vanman R.
      Prenatal care comparisons among privately insured, uninsured, and Medicaid-enrolled women.
      ;
      • Oberg C.N.
      • Lia-Hoagberg B.
      • Skovholt C.
      • Hodkinson E.
      Prenatal care use and health insurance status.
      ).
      For all of the information that we have about disparities in access to care based on insurance type, we have little insight into this phenomenon based on the experience of the physicians providing care. This paper looks at whether and how physicians' practices differ depending on the insurance status of their patients. In particular, we examine how the insurance status of ob-gyns' patients is associated with other characteristics of their patients and a physician's likelihood of performing certain general care services. This paper is particularly focused on addressing the question of whether the services carried out by ob-gyns differed based on their patients' insurance in an effort to better understand differences in need or access between patients who have private insurance and those who do not.

      Methods

      The method for this study closely followed that of
      • Morgan M.A.
      • Lawrence III, H.
      • Schulkin J.
      Obstetrician-gynecologists' approach to well-woman care.
      and
      • Morgan M.A.
      • Anderson B.
      • Lawrence III, H.
      • Schulkin J.
      Well-woman care among obstetrician-gynecologists: Opportunity for preconception care.
      .

      Measures

      A survey regarding practices, opinions, and patient characteristics was developed by the research department at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Questions were developed in consultation with practicing ob-gyns and pilot tested on a sample of practicing ob-gyns with adjustments made before distribution. Institutional review board approval was obtained from ACOG.
      Physicians were asked questions about their age, gender, practice location, practice characteristics (age, race, insurance type), opinions, and division of time in a series of multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, check all that apply, and Likert scale questions. Physicians also answered fill-in-the-blank questions about the number of operative procedures they performed, percentage of their patients seeing them as a primary care physician, and percentage of their patients who first made contact with them after becoming pregnant.

      Participants

      The study was sent to 1,000 ACOG fellows. Of these participants, 600 were members of the Collaborative Ambulatory Research Network (CARN). CARN members are ACOG fellows and junior fellows in practice who have volunteered to participate in survey studies on a regular basis without compensation; they are typically recruited through advertising or random selection from ACOG's membership rolls. CARN was established to improve the response rate on ACOG Research Department survey studies while maintaining a participant pool representative of practicing ACOG members. The remaining 400 participants consisted of a computer-generated random sample of ACOG fellows and junior fellows in practice who had not received a survey from ACOG during the previous 2 years (non-CARN).

      Procedures

      A total sample of 1,000 physicians was sent an e-mail containing information about the study, a link to the survey, and a password unique to each participant that they could use to log on to the electronic survey. Four reminder e-mails were sent to those who had not yet responded. Paper mailings, which included a cover letter, a questionnaire, and a stamped return envelope, were sent to the 875 participants who had not yet responded and to those for whom we did not have a valid e-mail address on record. Those who did not respond to the paper mailing were sent one paper reminder. The 1,000 participants who were contacted had a mean age of 50 years (range, 31–83). Participants who responded by mail did not differ from those who responded electronically in terms of age, gender, or insurance group.
      Those physicians reporting that more than 55% of their patients participated in Medicaid or Medicare or were uninsured were placed in the “non-private group” (n = 105). Those physicians reporting that more than 55% of their patients had private insurance were placed in the “private group” (n = 335). Ob-gyns in the private group were more likely to be female than physicians in the non-private group; therefore physician gender was controlled for in all analyses. Because the non-private group reported more young patients, patient age, a continuous variable of percent of patients under the age of 44, was also used as a covariate in all analyses.
      The data were analyzed using a personal computer-based software package (IBM SPSS Statistics 20.0, IBM Corp.©, Armonk, NY). Descriptive statistics were computed for the measures used in the analyses and reported as mean values ± standard deviation. One-way analysis of variance was used to compare group means of continuous measures. Differences on dichotomous variables were assessed using binary regression. Analyses were tested for significance using alpha of 0.01 to correct for multiple measures.

      Results

      The response rate was 56.4%. This response rate is similar to that of recent ACOG studies (e.g.,
      • Leddy M.A.
      • Anderson B.L.
      • Gall S.
      • Schulkin J.
      Obstetrician-gynecologists and the HPV vaccine: Practice patterns, beliefs, and knowledge.
      ;
      • Power M.L.
      • Cogswell M.E.
      • Schulkin J.
      US obstetrician-gynaecologist's prevention and management of obesity in pregnancy.
      ). There were responding physicians from all ACOG districts except district X (Armed Forces), including from the District of Columbia and from every state of the United States except Montana. Respondents' mean age (51 ± 0.43) closely matched that of the population to whom the survey was sent (50 ± 0.34). Men and women did not differ significantly in response rates (women, 59% [291/497]; men, 56% [273/488]; p = .408). CARN participants were older than non-CARN (CARN, 53.6 ± 9.9; non-CARN, 50.4 ± 11.0; p = .001), but did not differ on gender, or insurance group. Because of the limited differences, the two groups were combined for analyses.
      Of the total valid responses (n = 564), 335 reported providing care to a majority of patients with private insurance, “private group,” and 105 reported providing care to a majority of patients with public insurance or who were uninsured, “non-private group.” These participants were included in analyses (Table 1). The private group was 58.8% female, whereas the non-private group was 45.7% female (p = .018). There were no differences in age between the two groups. Female, but not male, physicians in the private group were more likely than those in the non-private group to practice in a group practice (p = .003). Demographic information for physicians can be found in Table 2. Table 3 illustrates that the non-private group reported caring for more patients aged 44 and younger, whereas the private group reported more patients aged 45 and older. The private group also reported a higher proportion of White (non-Hispanic) and Asian/Pacific Islander patients, and the non-private group reported more Hispanic patients. There were no differences in the number of African-American patients seen by the groups.
      Table 1Insurance Distribution
      Insurance TypeNon-Private Group (%)Private Group (%)
      Private insurance25.9 ± 14.077.1 ± 11.6
      Medicaid43.3 ± 23.88.1 ± 9.0
      Medicare14.5 ± 17.710.4 ± 1.9
      Uninsured15.4 ± 20.43.8 ± 4.5
      Other0.79 ± 2.50.56 ± 2.3
      Table 2Physician Demographics
      Total (n = 440)Private (n = 335)Non-Private (n = 105)p
      Age, mean (SD), yrs52.5 ± 10.352.2 ± 10.153.5 ± 10.8.263
      Gender (% female)55.758.845.7.018
      Clinical practice setting.003
      Alpha < 0.01.
       Solo/private practice20.7%21.3%19.2%
       Partnership/group practice74.3%76.0%70.2%
       Other4.5%2.7%10.6%
      Practice location.055
       Urban46.6%47.1%46.7%
       Suburban50.0%51.4%47.6%
       Rural/other2.5%1.5%5.7%
      Specialty.886
       Generalists29.3%29.6%28.6%
       Specialists30.7%31.1%29.5%
       Generalist and specialist39.8%39.2%41.9%
      Alpha < 0.01.
      Table 3Patient Characteristics
      Non-Private Group (%)Private Group (%)p
      Race
       White50.7 ± 30.964.21 ± 21.8≤.001
      Alpha < 0.01.
       Hispanic24.3 ± 23.811.6 ± 13.9≤.001
      Alpha < 0.01.
       African American17.8 ± 18.915.4 ± 14.5.513
       Asian3.5 ± 7.16.8 ± 9.0.001
      Alpha < 0.01.
       Other race3.7 ± 11.31.9 ± 6.6.047
      Age (yrs)
       ≤4461.1 ± 19.253.3 ± 16.7≤.001
      Alpha < 0.01.
       ≥4538.3 ± 18.746.6 ± 16.7≤.001
      Alpha < 0.01.
      Alpha < 0.01.
      Belonging to the private group independently predicted a physician reporting that the majority of patients remained under his or her care throughout their reproductive years. Both private group and older patient ages independently predicted a physician saying that well-woman care was a priority in his or her workload. Belonging to the non-private group and reporting younger patient age predicted reporting that a majority of pregnant patients first made contact after becoming pregnant. In all of these cases, insurance group more strongly predicted the outcome measure than did patient age (Table 4). Neither patient age nor insurance group independently predicted the number of patients reported who see the physician as a primary care physician following obstetrics care, how physicians defined well-woman care, or the number of nulliparous patients.
      Table 4Predictions of Obstetrics–Gynecologist Practice Patterns Based on Patient Insurance Status and Patient Age
      βWald χ2pOdds Ratio
      Care through reproductive years
       Insurance group (private vs. non-private)−1.1818.73≤.001
      Alpha < 0.01.
      0.985
       Proportion of young patients−0.0154.25.0390.985
      Well-woman care priority
       Insurance group (private vs. non-private)−0.91512.35≤.001
      Alpha < 0.01.
      0.974
       Proportion of young patients−0.02713.31≤.001
      Alpha < 0.01.
      0.400
      Pregnant patients already pregnant
       Insurance group (private vs. non-private)1.5217.09≤.001
      Alpha < 0.01.
      4.59
       Proportion of young patients0.02710.59.001
      Alpha < 0.01.
      1.03
      Alpha < 0.01.
      Private group and older patient age predicted a physician's likelihood of performing vitamin D screens during a well-woman examination, although this was a weak association indicating that other factors may be important (Wald χ2 = 7.09, p = .008; Wald χ2 = 19.14, p < .001 respectively). The two insurance groups did not differ in terms of other procedures performed during a well-woman examination. Physicians in the private group reported more frequently screening for family health history during a well-woman examination (F(1, 430) = 12.38 p < .001). The two groups did not differ in terms of other screening practices during well-woman examinations or initial obstetrics visits (e.g., drug use, sexual abuse).
      Physicians in the private group reported a greater proportion of patient visits for preconception care (Table 5). The non-private group reported that more patient visits were for gynecological complaints only (Table 5). The private group reported that more patient visits were for periodic well-woman care, and that they spent more hours per week on well-woman care (Table 6). The two groups did not differ on the proportion of their patients who saw them as a primary care physician.
      Table 5Obstetricians'/Gynecologists' Reported Reasons for Patients' Visits
      Non-Private Group (%)Private Group (%)p
      Visits for well-woman care23.3 ± 15.332.6 ± 16.4≤.001
      Alpha < 0.01.
      Visits for preconception care3.3 ± 4.15.2 ± 9.2.005
      Alpha < 0.01.
      Visits for gynecological complaints only25.0 ± 17.821.8 ± 13.6.011
      Visits for obstetric care36.0 ± 25.225.5 ± 19.6.005
      Alpha < 0.01.
      Visits for menopausal issues9.8 ± 9.312.2 ± 9.3.969
      Alpha < 0.01.
      Table 6Average Time Spent by Obstetricians/Gynecologists on Hospital- and Office-Based Activities
      Mean Hours per Week Spent onNon-PrivatePrivatep
      Hospital-based activities
       Labor and delivery14.6 ± 15.012.9 ± 12.3.715
       Gynecological surgery6.9 ± 7.06.2 ± 5.0.087
       Hospital rounds5.1 ± 5.73.5 ± 2.6≤.001
      Alpha < 0.01.
       Management of antepartum patients7.1 ± 12.12.9 ± 5.7≤.001
      Alpha < 0.01.
       Other (hospital-based)2.4 ± 7.03.1 ± 9.2.565
       Total hospital hours37.9 ± 27.429.6 ± 21.5.013
      Office-based activities
       Well-woman care8.9 ± 7.912.5 ± 8.1.004
      Alpha < 0.01.
       Gynecological complaints8.8 ± 7.39.3 ± 7.0.961
       Prenatal11.0 ± 9.97.7 ± 8.6.073
       Patient phone calls2.1 ± 2.53.5 ± 3.5.001
      Alpha < 0.01.
       Administration4.7 ± 6.84.2 ± 5.3.483
       Hospital committees/staff meetings1.7 ± 2.41.7 ± 2.3.728
       Teaching2.5 ± 5.22.2 ± 4.5.360
       Office consults3.1 ± 5.64.0 ± 6.5.047
       Other (office-based)1.1 ± 3.71.5 ± 5.2.284
       Total office hours44.3 ± 21.146.2 ± 21.0.283
      Total hours78.7 ± 39.572.0 ± 36.4.323
      Alpha < 0.01.
      Table 6 highlights differences in how physicians reported spending their time. The non-private group reported spending more overall hours per week on hospital-based activities, although this was not significant. They also reported spending more time on hospital rounds as well as on management of antepartum patients. In terms of office-based care, the private group reported spending more time on well-woman care and telephone calls. Physicians in the two groups did not differ, however, on the total number of hours that they reported.
      Table 7 details differences in performance of surgical procedures, with the non-private group reporting performing more anterior and posterior repairs, incontinence slings, and bilateral tubal ligations than the private group. There were no differences between the two groups in terms of obstetrics procedures or total procedures performed.
      Table 7Average Number of Surgical Procedures Performed per Month by Obstetricians/Gynecologists
      Number of Surgical Procedures Performed (per month)Non-PrivatePrivatep
      Gynecologic
       Hysteroscopy0.18 ± 1.30.25 ± 1.1.757
       Hysterectomy2.9 ± 2.82.6 ± 2.5.248
       Anterior and posterior repair1.4 ± 2.01.1 ± 1.7.010
      Alpha < 0.01.
       Dilation and curettage3.2 ± 5.43.7 ± 4.6.425
       Abdominal sacrocolpopexy0.17 ± 0.650.16 ± 0.97.416
       Surgical assist3.1 ± 5.12.4 ± 3.2.143
       Laparoscopy0.24 ± 1.20.15 ± 0.74.352
       Laparotomy1.3 ± 1.91.0 ± 1.2.168
       Bilateral tubal ligation2.6 ± 2.81.5 ± 1.5≤.001
      Alpha < 0.01.
       Incontinence slings1.4 ± 2.70.83 ± 1.8.001
      Alpha < 0.01.
       Ablation2.1 ± 4.32.6 ± 2.2.444
       Total gynecologic procedures25.9 ± 23.025.2 ± 15.3.653
      Obstetric
       Spontaneous vaginal delivery16.5 ± 37.79.5 ± 7.7.020
       Operative vaginal delivery1.7 ± 1.91.5 ± 1.3.887
       Cesarean delivery5.7 ± 10.54.0 ± 2.6.090
       Cervical cerclage0.30 ± 0.680.27 ± 0.57.740
       Total obstetric procedures17.6 ± 23.814.8 ± 6.3.446
      Alpha < 0.01.

      Discussion

      The purpose of this study was to assess whether the practices of ob-gyns whose patients are primarily privately insured differ from ob-gyns whose patients are not. In addition, this study aimed to gather more information about these two patient groups to see whether differences linked with insurance type were present. The proportion of physicians reporting that the majority of their patients were not privately insured was relatively low, but these data do suggest that there may be differences in the care provided by these two groups.
      This study found that ob-gyns who see privately insured patients tend to see more White and Asian patients and more patients aged 45 to 64. On the other hand, providers whose patients are generally not privately insured see more Hispanic patients and more patients under the age of 18. These demographic differences between patients indicate that ob-gyns in the private and non-private group may encounter very different needs from their patients, particularly on the basis of age. Additionally, the finding that physicians who see mostly uninsured or publicly insured patients serve more patients aged under 18 indicates that this group of patients is likely less involved in the private healthcare market and therefore may benefit from additional outreach.
      This study found that physicians who see publicly insured or uninsured patients are more likely to report that their patients make contact with them after becoming pregnant than those who see privately insured patients. Accessing care from an ob-gyn early in pregnancy allows for preventative care that can positively affect both the overall health of a woman and her child and future pregnancy outcomes (
      • Korenbrot C.C.
      • Steinberg A.
      • Bender C.
      • Newberry S.
      Preconception care: A systematic review.
      ;
      • Moos M.
      Preconceptional wellness as a routine objective for women's health care: An integrative strategy.
      ;
      • Moos M.
      • Cefalo R.C.
      Preconceptional health promotion: A focus for obstetric care.
      ). As such, it is important for all women to be able to access preconception care. This study additionally indicates that physicians who treat patients without private health insurance see a smaller proportion of patients for preconception care than do ob-gyns who serve privately insured patients. This is indicative of the fact that limited access to care from a specialist provider means that women who are publicly insured or uninsured are less likely to seek out care before becoming pregnant (
      • Atrash H.K.
      • Johnson K.
      • Adams M.
      • Cordero J.F.
      • Howse J.
      Preconception care for improving perinatal outcomes: The time to act.
      ). These data highlight the need for increased education related to the importance of preconception care (
      • Frey K.A.
      • Files J.A.
      Preconception healthcare: What women know and believe.
      ;
      • Johnson K.A.
      Public finance policy strategies to increase access to preconception care.
      ;
      • Kalmuss D.
      • Fennelly K.
      Barriers to prenatal care among low-income women in New York City.
      ), as well as an emphasis on increasing access to that care. This difference could expose certain women to higher levels of risk in pregnancy outcomes (
      • Jones M.E.
      • Cason C.L.
      • Bond M.L.
      Access to preventive health care: Is method of payment a barrier for immigrant Hispanic women?.
      ).
      Past studies have emphasized the importance of well-woman care as a major source of preventative care for women (
      • Jones M.E.
      • Cason C.L.
      • Bond M.L.
      Access to preventive health care: Is method of payment a barrier for immigrant Hispanic women?.
      ;
      • Morgan M.A.
      • Lawrence III, H.
      • Schulkin J.
      Obstetrician-gynecologists' approach to well-woman care.
      ;
      • Morgan M.A.
      • Anderson B.
      • Lawrence III, H.
      • Schulkin J.
      Well-woman care among obstetrician-gynecologists: Opportunity for preconception care.
      ). The results of this study indicate that physicians who see privately insured women report spending more time on preventative care in the form of well-woman examinations than do those who see publicly insured or uninsured patients. Physicians did not differ substantially, however, on the care provided during a well-woman examination. Physicians who provide care to mostly publicly insured or uninsured patients reported providing more bilateral tubal ligations, anterior and posterior assists, and incontinence slings than the private group even when controlling for patient age. The differences noted in the current study may be the result of differences in additional patient characteristics. In other research, privately insured have been found to be more likely to access preventative care, and particularly prenatal care (
      • Oberg C.N.
      • Lia-Hoagberg B.
      • Hodkinson E.
      • Skovholt C.
      • Vanman R.
      Prenatal care comparisons among privately insured, uninsured, and Medicaid-enrolled women.
      ;
      • Oberg C.N.
      • Lia-Hoagberg B.
      • Skovholt C.
      • Hodkinson E.
      Prenatal care use and health insurance status.
      ). It has been suggested that this might be because women who are privately insured have different motivations for accessing care or expectations of care from an ob-gyn than do women who are publicly insured or uninsured (
      • Kalmuss D.
      • Fennelly K.
      Barriers to prenatal care among low-income women in New York City.
      ;
      • U.S. General Accounting Office
      Prenatal care: Medicaid recipients and uninsured women obtain insufficient care.
      ).
      Our study has limitations. There may have been practice characteristics not included in our study, such as academic versus non-academic settings, which may contribute to some of the differences observed. We could not include all possible characteristics owing the limited space on the survey. Future research will need to examine these variables. It would be preferable to have information from individual patients detailing both their insurance status and the services that they had received from their ob-gyn to confirm the information given by these physicians. This study also does not address the causes of the observed differences. It may be that the general health needs of privately insured patients differ significantly from those without private insurance patients, or it could reflect differences in patient characteristics such as socioeconomic status, education, or expectations about medicine. The majority of our participants reported seeing primarily patients with private insurance. It is important to note that, although this aspect of the data could evidence a limitation in the current study, it may also indicate that access to ob-gyn and other specialist care is more limited for those women who are not privately insured (
      • Sambamoorthi U.
      • McAlpine D.D.
      Racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and access disparities in the use of preventative services among women.
      ).

      Implications for Practice and/or Policy

      Given the findings from this study, increasing the focus on well-woman and preventive care among ob-gyns who primarily treat women without private insurance might help to raise parity in care. New changes in legislation that make access to women's care a priority may improve the outlook for this at-risk group by requiring more access to ob-gyns without a referral, and may result in fewer differences in the care accessed by women seeking medical help. It will be important to track these effects in the future to determine the overall impact of this legislation. A future study that targeted physicians with broader patient populations, and that included input from patients themselves, could also add considerably to our understanding of these data.

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      Biography

      Greta B. Raglan, BS, is a research assistant at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and a doctoral candidate at American University, Department of Psychology, Washington, DC. Her research focuses on decision making and substance abuse.
      Britta L. Anderson, PhD, is research associate at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Her research focuses on statistical literacy and decision making under uncertainty.
      Hal Lawrence III, MD, is the executive vice president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. His research focuses on well-woman care and collaborative care in obstetrical and gynecological practice.
      Jay Schulkin, PhD, is the director of research at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and a research professor in the Department of Neuroscience, Georgetown University, School of Medicine, Washington, DC. His research focuses on decision making under uncertainty, statistical literacy, and medical competence.