Medscape just released their annual physician compensation report. For those unfamiliar, physician compensation is a topic with few reliable resources/numbers, leading to much anxiety among residents/fellows. It is not surprising that objective data on physician salaries is difficult to obtain as people tend to be private about their incomes for a number of reasons. Medscape's annual physician compensation report offers a way to gain some insight into this elusive topic. Please keep in mind that this is a survey-based study so some bias is expected. With that said, here are the conclusions I drew comparing to the 2016 report:
- Slight shuffle at the top - The top 3 earning specialties in this year's survey are Orthopedics ($489,000), Plastic Surgery ($440,000), and Cardiology ($410,000). In 2016, the top 3 were Orthopedics ($443,000), Cardiology ($410,000), and Dermatology ($381,000).
- Specialty training pays - The more things change, the more they stay the same. Specialists reported average earnings of $316,000 vs. $217,000 for PCPs - a 46% difference. However, if you are a PCP, don't expect too much sympathy from the general public as most people will probably still consider you rich.
- Physician pay has steadily increased - The sky is not falling after all! From 2011 to 2017, average physician compensation increased from $206,000 to $294,000 - that's an average annual increase of 6%! For comparison, inflation has only gone up an average of 1.34% in the same time.
- If it's a desirable place to live, expect to make less - The states reporting the highest physician salaries are North Dakota ($361,000), Alaska ($359,000) and South Dakota ($354,000). Compare that to the states paying the least - Washington D.C. ($235,000), Maryland ($260,000) and Rhode Island ($261,000).
- Morale is improving - Depending on specialty, 71-88% of respondents indicated that they would choose medicine again with 64-96% reporting they would choose their same specialty again. In 2016, those numbers were 47-73% and 25-74% respectively. That's a pretty big improvement in just one year.
For more, head over to Medscape to see the original report. What other conclusions can you draw?