"But generally you can find, within a reasonable driving distance, someone using cutting-edge technology," Rabin added. "I can't tell you that's true in every instance, but there are ob-gyns practicing in significant proportions in small- or mid-size towns."
The study authors wrote that the uneven distribution of ob-gyns may worsen as newly graduated medical residents cluster in metropolitan areas, and they suggested that the government offer incentives to lure physicians to underserved areas.
But Rabin noted that some government programs already exist to pay for medical training for doctors who agree to serve in designated rural areas. Also, some family practitioners in these areas deliver babies, "so they take up the slack for us," she said.
The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has more information about employment for ob-gyns.
SOURCES: Jill Rabin, M.D., chief, ambulatory care, obstetrics and gynecology, and head, urogynecology, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Erin E. Tracy, M.D., M.P.H., obstetrician-gynecologist, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; May 8, 2012, presentation, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists annual meeting, San Diego
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