Radiologists are now among the top 10 most-recruited specialists. A report by Physicians Thrive revealed that recruiting is up among specialists, including radiologists, for the first time in many years.
During the last 13 years, primary care physicians were the most highly-recruited physicians in the United States. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic created a significant decline in family medicine visits, demand for primary care physicians declined, replaced by increased demand for specialists.
Some of these specialties may be in high demand because they typically generate significantly more revenue for practices or hospitals. Psychiatrists were more in demand, mostly due to the pandemic’s mental health issues, stress, and anxiety.
A Look at Bonuses and Salaries
Researchers at Physicians Thrive utilized incentive bonuses to quantify demand for various specialists. Radiologists earned the sixth-highest incentive bonus at $69,000. Other highly-desired specialties included orthopedists, coming in first with incentive bonuses averaging $116,000, followed by ophthalmology averaging $87,000 in incentive bonuses. Four other specialties were clustered together, with similar average incentive bonus payments.
- Otolaryngology – $72,000
- Urology – $72,000
- Cardiology – $71,000
- Radiology – $69,000
Gastroenterology and anesthesiology were also in high demand, with incentive bonuses of over $50,000.
The three primary methods in which incentive bonuses were calculated were:
- RVU-based – 57%
- Net collections – 23%
- Quality – 23%
The report also noted that some healthcare organizations grew significantly more than others. Multi-specialty group practices experienced the most growth — up 4.1%, and health maintenance organizations and industry/pharmaceutical companies experienced just under 4% growth rates.
It’s noteworthy to see that radiologists are among the specialties most likely to be satisfied in their profession and would choose it again — 93% of radiologists would choose this specialty again.
Eight specialties garner median salaries of over $400,000 annually, including radiology. Surgical specialties remain the highest-paid specialists — radiologists come in 6th with a median compensation of $413,000.
Women specialty physicians earn about 25% less than their male counterparts. However, the pay gap varies considerably by region and specialty.
Trends in the Coming Years
Shortages in physicians in both the Southern and Midwestern regions will continue. Unfortunately, these states have the largest aging populations. And as the U.S. population continues to age, these physician shortages will be exacerbated — often driving salaries and bonuses higher.
Factors driving the overall physician shortage include:
- The number of people over 65 is forecast to increase by 48% over the next 10 years.
- The U.S. overall population is forecast to grow by 10% by 2032.
- The U.S. physician population is aging, with many nearing retirement age.
- Low-income and rural areas will experience significant shortages in all types of physicians.
The Effects of COVID
Trends that started at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic may continue. 44% of physicians think that office visits and/or screenings won’t rebound after COVID — believing that visits may be down by 25% compared to pre-COVID levels. 10% of doctors are even more pessimistic and believe that patient volume will decline by 26% or more.
- Almost three-quarters of physicians have seen a decrease in income.
- 43% have worked with a reduced staff.
- 8% have had to shutter their doors.
The pandemic has taken a toll on all healthcare workers, including physicians. Physicians report:
- 13% have had to seek professional attention for mental health concerns.
- 43% report withdrawing from friends and/or family.
- 50% have experienced anger and/or anxiety.
- 58% have experienced burn-out.
Fully one-third of all physicians have or are considering retirement. Physicians note that they enjoy helping others, finding diagnoses, and their relationships with their patients, but they cite several aspects of healthcare that frustrate them, including:
- Rules and regulations – 23%
- Long hours – 14%
- Difficult patients – 14%
- Reimbursement/collections – 12%
- EHR system frustrations – 11%
If you’d like to read the complete Physicians Thrive Physician Compensation Report 2022, click here and read for free.