Physicians are highly influential in patient care, organizational decision making and the use of treatments and prescriptions.
Understanding their opinions, behaviors and perspectives can be very helpful for healthcare, medical device and pharmaceutical companies.
Physicians are specialized medical professionals. Clinicians on the other hand are primary care givers of a patient. The roles of the two disciplines are often blurred. Physicians are clinicians, and the terms are commonly used interchangeably. We will use the word “clinician” to refer to all healthcare providers who deal with patients. “Physician” will refer to clinicians who focuses on a particular specialty.
Changing Medical Landscape
Physician practice ownership is trending downward. In 2016, less than half of practicing physicians owned their practice. This was the first year the figure dropped below 50 percent. Most of those in private practice work in offices with ten or fewer physicians. There was an uptick in the number working at practices with more than 50 physicians.
The doctors who have given up their practices are moving into salaried jobs at hospitals. Some specialists have been a part of this trend. Primary care physicians are the ones leading the charge, however. More than half of all pediatricians and family doctors are employees. Surgical subspecialists are also drifting into the employment zone. Examples include ophthalmologists and ear, nose and throat specialists. About a quarter of subspecialists are employed in hospitals.
This trend is due in part to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010. Another effect of the ACA is that hospitals are buying physician practices at a faster rate. They are forming integrated systems to better coordinate care among themselves. These systems also benefit the physicians they use. Other parts of the healthcare delivery system will also gain from integrated systems. As a result, doctors are no longer making purchasing decisions. The decision makers for medical products and services are sitting on hospital boards.
Another notable healthcare trend is a physician shortage. This shortage is particularly acute in the inner city and rural areas. Universal access to healthcare will make this situation worse. Most residents say they would prefer to work in communities of 10,000 or more. Small rural communities will thus continue to be underserved.
The top specialties for physicians are Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, and Pediatrics. Other well-compensated specialties are Dermatology and Radiology. Geriatrics is another in-demand field. The high demand for Gerontologists is no surprise. The Baby Boomer generation is entering retirement. This shift is also causing the need for Psychiatric care to increase.
These specialists can expect to work in hospitals, given the decline in ownership. Hospitals are using perks to attract physician employees. These include health and malpractice insurance. Hospitals are also offering retirement and disability plans. Education loan forgiveness and housing allowances are also provided. Compensation remains high for physicians though changing regulations may impact earnings.
Hospital-rich Boston is the metro area with the highest demand for doctors. San Francisco is second on the list. New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Philadelphia also have high doctor demand.
Reaching Physicians Worldwide
SIS provides rapid insight to physicians in the US and worldwide and has over 35 years research leadership. We have developed innovative digital methods to rapidly and affordably deliver physician insights. We can provide Quantitative and Qualitative research via mobile, telephone, in-person interviews, Focus Groups and many other market research methods. We do research across the United States, Europe, Asia and in many Emerging Markets.