The landscape in which physicians practice is constantly evolving, requiring physicians, administrators, and recruiters to adapt. While the COVID-19 pandemic was something no one could have predicted, it has accelerated many of the physician practice trends that were already underway in the healthcare industry. Rising physician burnout, renewed interest in rural healthcare, and sustained demand for telemedicine by patients and providers are just a few of the shifts that the industry will need to accommodate. Certainly, some of these trends will impact advanced practice provider and physician recruitment as well. Whether you are an administrator, physician recruiter, a physician, or an advanced practice provider, here are five physician practice trends to watch.
1. More Than Half of Physicians Report Burnout
48% of Generation X, 38% of Millenials, and 39% of Baby Boomers are burned out.
Female physicians are more burned out than their male counterparts, reporting 48% and 37% respectively. Yet 28% of physicians report that their employer does not offer a program to mitigate burnout.
Due to COVID-19, 54% of physicians plan to make an employment change. 36% of those respondents are considering early retirement or leaving medicine altogether and another 50% are considering leaving their current employer for another.
Sources: September 2020 Modern Healthcare Article, January 2020 Medscape National Physician Burnout & Suicide Report 2020: The Generational Divide, February 2021 Jackson Physician Search Physician Retention Survey Results White Paper
2. More Physicians are Employed
For the first time, less than 50% of doctors work for a private practice and close to 40% work for a hospital, or fully or partially hospital-owned practice.
57% of women and 47% of men are employed.
Family Medicine Physicians:
- 58% are employed
- 39% own their own practice
- 3% are independent contractors
General Surgeons :
- 53% are employed
- 42% own their own practice
- 5% are independent contractors
- 46% are employed
- 48% own their own practice
- 6% are independent contractors
- 37% are employed
- 54% own their own practice
- 9% are independent contractors
21% of residents are planning on owning their own practice, 28% are seeking employment, and 20% are considering both options. Recent graduates often seek larger organizations that can offer secure employment.
Increase in Physician Practice Acquisitions During COVID: From January 2019 to January 2021 there was a 21% increase in the number of physician practices owned by corporations or hospitals.
Sources: 2020 AMA Physician Practice Benchmark Survey, May 2021 Advisory Board Article, June 2021 Physicians Advocacy Institute Study
3. More Physicians Considering Rural Healthcare
20% of the US population lives in rural locations, but only 11% of physicians practice there.
“We’ve seen a significant influx of candidates seeking physician jobs in the Midwest. Physicians want to come back to the Midwest to be near family, but there are others who are just looking for a slower pace of life, away from busier metropolitan markets.” – Carly Clem, Jackson Physician Search Regional Vice President of Recruiting
Source: February 2020 AAM Article, July 2021 Jackson Physician Search COVID Changed the Physician Job Market White Paper
4. More Physicians in Demand
The current AAMC numbers project a physician shortage of between 37,800-124,000 by 2034.
The physician specialties in the highest demand:
- Primary Care
- Internal Medicine
- Emergency Medicine
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
Physician Shortage Estimates by Specialty
- Primary Care – 48,000
- Surgical Specialties – 30,200
- Other Specialties – 35,600
- Medical Specialties – 13,400
Sources: June 2021 AAMC The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand: Projections From 2019 to 2034 Report, May 2021 St. George University Article
5. More Telemedicine
31% of healthcare leaders expect their use of telemedicine to increase in 2021.
86% patient satisfaction score for telehealth services.