Most in-demand physician specialties and average incomes

Current trends in healthcare reform are boosting demand for specific types of physicians, according to a report on physician recruiting trends from physician search firm Merritt Hawkins, a division of AMN Healthcare.

Based on data from more than 3,000 physician and advanced practitioner recruiting assignments conducted by the firm between April 2014 and March 2015, the report indicates the demand for psychiatrists specifically reached a record high in the past year.

"Mental health is a topic that the health system and patients themselves often avoid," Travis Singleton, senior vice president of Merritt Hawkins, said in a statement. "For that reason, psychiatry can be considered the 'silent shortage,' even though shortages in psychiatry may be even more acute than they are in primary care."

Team-based care and population health management is driving the demand for primary care physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, obstetricians/gynecologists and physicians who manage chronic illness, like pulmonologists, cardiologists and psychiatrists, according to the report.

Here are the top 20 types of physicians and practitioners ranked in order of demand from most to least, and their average incomes for 2014 to 2015, according to Merritt Hawkins. Note: Demand is based on number of search requests for each specialty. Income includes full-time base salary or guaranteed income only, and excludes production bonuses or benefits.

1. Family medicine physician — $198,000

2. Internal medicine physician — $207,000

3. Psychiatrist — $226,000

4. Hospitalist — $232,000

5. Nurse practitioner — $107,000

6. Obstetrician/gynecologist — $276,000

7. Orthopedic surgeon — $497,000

8. Emergency medicine physician — $345,000

9. Pediatrician — $195,000

10. General surgeon — $339,000

11. Physician assistant — $107,000

12. Neurologist — $277,000

13. Otolaryngologist — $334,000

14. Dermatologist — $398,000

15. Gastroenterologist — $455,000

16. Urologist — $412,000

17. Physiatrist — $244,000

18. Pulmonologist — $331,000

19. Cardiologist — $291,000 (non-invasive), $525,000 (invasive)

20. Urgent care — $210,000

The report noted physician compensation is still primarily driven by volume-based metrics, including Relative Value Units, patient visits and net collections, despite the push for value-based compensation.


More articles on integration and physician issues:

Healthcare transitions mandate recruiters screen for savvy physicians
Should physician performance data be transparent?
8 stories about end-of-life care for physicians

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