Reviewing the 2014 Physician Compensation Report

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Session 81

Session 81

In today’s episode, Ryan and Allison review the 2014 Physician Compensation Report from Medscape. Every year, puts out a survey laying out various information including compensation based on different specialties, physician satisfaction, etc. with 24,000 physicians in 25 different specialties as respondents.

Listen in as Ryan and Allison share some of the results that came up as well as their insights. This gives you a great way to see what’s going through the minds of a lot of physicians, what their life looks like, and understand their challenges so use this as a tool and data point.

Here are the highlights of the conversation with Ryan and Allison:

  1. Highest paid vs. lowest paid

  • Highest paid: Orthopedics ($413,000 a year)
  • Lowest paid: HIV infectious disease specialist ($174,000 a year)

Everything on top is procedure-based while the bottom includes those at the front lines taking care of patients and doing preventive medicine (primary care physician, pediatrician, psychiatrist, neurologist).

  1. By gender

  • Half of graduating physicians are female
  • 61% of women physicians are under 45 vs. 38% of men
  • Women earn less than men across jobs
  1. By geographical location

  • Northeast being the least compensated
  • Surplus of physicians in the Boston area
  1. By practice setting

A physician practicing in an academic teaching hospital makes less than someone in private practice

  1. By feeling of fair compensation

50% of physicians feel that they’re fairly compensated while the other half feel they’re not

Job satisfaction by specialty:

  • 52% of primary care physicians feel they’re fairly compensated (note that they’re making the least amount of money yet they feel more compensated than the rest)
  • 63% of dermatologists feel the most compensated
  • Plastic surgeons feel the least compensated (they’re no.7 on the list of highest paid)

Ryan stresses that the numbers don’t always tell the whole story and raises these points:

  • How much is enough?
  • What exactly are the reasons these physicians don’t feel fairly compensated?
  • What is their overall debt load?
  1. Discussing the cost of treatment with patients

  • 40% of physicians discuss it occasionally
  • Case managers and the financial department can take care of this
  • 5% never talk about it because they don’t feel it’s appropriate
  1. Hours per week spent seeing patients

  • Majority sees patients 30-40 hours a week
  • 6% see patients more than 65 hours a week
  1. Time spent with patients

Average of 13-16 minutes spent with each patient

What is concierge medicine?

This refers to a system wherein smaller number of patients pay a large sum of money out of pocket so they can have more time and attention from the physician.

  1. Hours spent on paperwork and administration

Majority spends almost 10 hours a week doing paperwork and admin stuff

  1. If you had to do it all over again, would you choose medicine as a career, the same specialty, and the same practice setting?

  • 58% would choose medicine as a career again

Don’t freak out! There is hope. In 2012, a Forbes article talks about a survey where 30,000 took a poll and says that 32% in the U.S. wanted to find new work. It’s not just in medicine that people are dissatisfied. This could be a growing epidemic of the “shiny toy syndrome.”

  • 47% would choose the same specialty again

Ryan points out:

Is the system broken in terms of choosing a specialty?

  1. By compensation and level of happiness:

  • Orthopedics: 44%
  • HIV, Internal medicine, family practice: 67-68%

Some pieces of advice for premed students:

Choose something that you’re passionate about and you care about and not something that’s going to make the most amount of money.

Links and Other Resources:

2014 Medscape Physician Compensation Report

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