A new report on the increasing demand for physicians in the United States has shown that the ongoing trend towards population health management is "driving demand" for family doctors, who remain America's most in-demand physician specialty, followed closely by psychiatrists.
The report, which has been conducted for the past 24 years by physician staffing firm Merritt Hawkins (like Staff Care, a company of AMN Healthcare), tracked 3,287 recruiting assignments for physicians and advanced practitioners like PAs, NPs and CRNAs from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017.
Called the 2017 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives, the report reveals that far more search assignments were conducted for family doctors for a full year than for any other type of physician. Psychiatrists, internists, obstetrician/gynecologists, and hospitalists filled out the top five most in-demand physician specialties.
"The 2017 report indicates that Merritt Hawkins conducted more searches for psychiatrists in the last year than it has in any previous 12 months in the firm’s 30 year history," company leaders in a news release.
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Population Health 'Driving Demand' for Physicians
The physician staffing report attributes the American healthcare industry's ongoing demand for family doctors to the move towards population health management.
“Emerging delivery models that reward quality and population health are driving demand for family doctors,” Travis Singleton, Merritt Hawkins Senior Vice President explained in the news release.
"As we get into this new era of population health and chronic disease management, we look at those physicians that are maybe spending more time to manage that chronic population," Singleton also told Modern Healthcare. "Regardless of how it looks, we are fairly confident that quality is going to be a major driver of our healthcare system. The debate now is about by how much."
“Consumer preference for urgent care centers, retail clinics, community health centers, telehealth and other modes of convenient care is another key factor accelerating the recruitment of family doctors,” he added in the news release.
The report also documents a surge in demand for psychiatric practitioners, and reveals how much the demand for these in-demand specialties "is exerting upward pressure on starting salaries," thereby transforming physician staffing in larger ways.
"The average starting salary for family physicians is $231,000 ... up from $198,000 in 2015, an increase of 17%," the news release notes. "The average starting salary for psychiatrists, who also are in great demand, is $263,000, according to the report, up from $226,000 two years ago, while the average starting salary for general internists is $257,000, up from $207,000 two years ago."
Value-based physician staffing incentives is also "gaining momentum," the company explains, while pointing out that "less than 5% of total physician compensation is tied to quality or value-based metrics, suggesting that volume remains the primary method for measuring and rewarding physician productivity."
The report contains other insights, including how physician staffing assignments are becoming increasingly concentrated within urban areas, and how the physician shortage is projected to impact the industry in the years to come. You can get a copy here.
If you represent a healthcare facility looking to explore new physician staffing options, we encourage you to put our team's expertise to use! Contact Staff Care today to discover how we can help, or submit a staffing request here.
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