Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Is your doctor only in it for the money? New report suggests maybe not

In its annual survey of doctors, the website Medscape asked those in different specialties whether they would choose medicine again as a career if they had it to do over. Those most likely to say they would were among the lowest paid.

Is your doctor only in it for the money? New report suggests maybe not

Does money buy happiness? The answer for doctors is not so clear.

In its annual survey of doctors, the website Medscape asked those in different specialties whether they would choose medicine again as a career if they had it to do over. Those most likely to say they would were among the lowest paid.  Among internists (average compensation $188,000), 68% were happy with their choice of profession, as were 67% of family practitioners ($176,000) and 63% of pediatricians ($181,000).

Those least likely to choose medicine again were among the highest paid. Only 41% of plastic surgeons ($321,000) would follow the same professional path. For orthopedists ($413,000), the percentage was 44%, and for radiologists ($340,000) it was 45%.

However, when asked if they would choose the same specialty again, the answers were different. Those most satisfied with their field included dermatologists ($308,000) at 77% followed by orthopedists at 64%, ophthalmologists ($291,000) at 61% and cardiologists ($351,000) at 61%.  Those least satisfied included internists at 27% and family practitioners at 32%.

One possible explanation for these numbers is that primary care physicians, such as internists, family practitioners and pediatricians, enjoy their role as doctors the most. But they find the burdens of practice in their fields, like lower pay and heavy administrative demands, especially troublesome.

If that is true, these numbers provide yet more support for policies to improve the lot of primary care practitioners relative to specialists. As access to care expands under the Affordable Care Act, their role will only grow in importance.

 

Robert I. Field, Ph.D., J.D., M.P.H. Professor, School of Law & Drexel School of Public Health
About this blog

The Field Clinic reports and analyzes health care laws, government policies, and political trends that are transforming the care we receive and the way we pay for it. Read more about our panel of bloggers here.

This blog is produced in partnership with Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health-policy research and communication organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Portions of this blog may also be found on Inquirer.com and in the Inquirer's Sunday Health Section.

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Robert I. Field, Ph.D., J.D., M.P.H. Professor, School of Law & Drexel School of Public Health
Jeffrey Brenner, MD Founder of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, Medical Director of the Urban Health Institute at Cooper University Healthcare
Andy Carter President & CEO, The Hospital & Healthsystem Assoc. of Pa.
Robert B. Doherty Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs & Public Policy American College of Physicians
David Grande, MD, MPA Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Tine Hansen-Turton Chief Strategy Officer of Public Health Management Corporation
Drew A. Harris, DPM, MPH Director of Health Policy Program at the Jefferson School of Population Health
Antoinette Kraus Director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network
Laval Miller-Wilson Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Health Law Project
David B. Nash, MD, MBA Founding Dean of the Jefferson School of Population Health
Mark V. Pauly, Ph.D. Professor of Health Care Management, Business Economics and Public Policy at The Wharton School
Howard J. Peterson, MHA Managing Partner of TRG Healthcare, a national healthcare consulting firm
Donald Schwarz, MD, MPH Deputy Mayor for Health & Opportunity and Health Commissioner for the City of Philadelphia
Paula L. Stillman, MD, MBA Healthcare consultant with special expertise in population health and disease management
Elizabeth A. W. Williams Senior Vice President & Chief Communications Officer for Independence Blue Cross
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