Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The New American Physician, As Revealed by 2015 Merritt Hawkins Survey of Final-Year Residents

The days of new doctors hanging out a shingle in an independent practice are over. Most new doctors prefer to be employed and let the hospital or medical group handle the business end of medical practice.

Mark Smith, President of Merritt Hawkins, an AMN company, commenting on 2015 survey of final year residents, to which 1200 of 24,000 responded.

Merritt Hawkins is the nation’s largest physician recruiting firm. It publishes national surveys of physician. The latest 2015 survey is of physicians in their last year of residency.

The survey reveals the profound transformation of American medicine from independent practice to salaried employment by hospitals and medical groups. It also shows that the supply of physicians far outruns its supply.

Here, in brief, are highlighs of its 2015 survey of last year medical residents.

1. Newly trained doctors are in high demand.

- 63% completing training in 2014 received 51 or more job solicitations.

- 46% received 100 more or more job solicitations.

2. New doctors prefer to be employed by a hospital or medical group.

- 92% of those being recruited prefer a salaried position to independent practice.

- 2% prefer independent solo practice.

3. There is bad news for rural areas.

- 67% prefer to locate in communities of 25,000 or more

- 3% prefer to locate in communities of 25, 000 or more

Other key findings are :

- Newly trained physicians crave most having free time, paying off educational debts, and a balanced life style.

- 39% say they are not prepared to handle the business side of medicine.

- 56% received no formal instruction about business matters.

- 78% expect to make $176,000 or more in their first year out of residency.

- 25% say if they had it to do over again they would pick a career other than medicine.

- 93% would prefer to live in a community of 50,000 or more.

Translated, these numbers mean that the days of private solo practice are drawing to a close, that demand for doctors far exceeds the supply, and that young doctors are in the enviable position of entering practices with high salary expectations in larger cities. They are likely to hve more free time and more balanced life styles than their predecessors in private practices.

As I indicated in my previous blog, these prospects are attractive to younger, female , primary care practitioners, and to salaried physicians seeking economic security , but not so appealing to older physicians, specialists, and practice owners who cherish their independence and clinical autonomy.

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