Characteristics of U.S. physicians in 2016

Portrait of a U.S. physician 2016 This statistic is based on a survey and provides a portrait of an average physician in the United States, as of 2016. As of that year, the average physician worked about 53 hours per week and 49 percent would not recommend medicine as a career. The Healthcare Reform in the United States under the ACA will continue to alter the medical industry, leading to increased usage of digital health and changing the medical profession.
Physicians in the U.S.

The characteristics defining a U.S. physician may vary greatly across the country. About 58 percent are employed at a hospital or with a medical group, while about 33 percent are employed at a private practice. Physician compensation can also vary widely based on medical specialty. Those in orthopedics earn about 443,000 U.S. dollars annually, while a physician in critical care earns about 306,000 U.S. dollars per year. As of 2016, California had the largest number of active specialist physicians, totaling 52,815 physicians.

About 49 percent of physicians would not recommend medicine as a career, where about 54 percent state that morale is very or somewhat negative due to stressors. About 45.4 percent of physicians in the country have stated that they have experienced burnout as of 2012. There has been an increased number of stressors such as the lack of a single payer system that has contributed to extensive insurance paper work and a decrease in independence for many physicians as hospitals purchase more private practices. There is also concern among some doctors based on their compensation under healthcare reform in the United States. Many, about 81 percent, also state that their workload is at their capacity or even overextended. Only about 13 percent of physicians spend 25 minutes or more with their patients.
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Percentage of physicians
Are employed by hospital or group58
Are in private practice33
Are in solo practice17
In groups of 11 or more48
Limit/do not see Medicaid patients36
Limit/do not see Medicare patients27
Spend between 11 and 15 hours each week on Non-clinical (paperwork) duties18
Participate in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs)36
Participate in state/federal exchanges43
Say morale is very or somewhat negative54
Will accelerate their retirement plans47
Will switch to concierge5
Workload at capacity or overextended81
Would not recommend medicine as a career49
Average hours per week (hours)53
Average patients seen per day (number)21
Percentage of physicians
Are employed by hospital or group58
Are in private practice33
Are in solo practice17
In groups of 11 or more48
Limit/do not see Medicaid patients36
Limit/do not see Medicare patients27
Spend between 11 and 15 hours each week on Non-clinical (paperwork) duties18
Participate in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs)36
Participate in state/federal exchanges43
Say morale is very or somewhat negative54
Will accelerate their retirement plans47
Will switch to concierge5
Workload at capacity or overextended81
Would not recommend medicine as a career49
Average hours per week (hours)53
Average patients seen per day (number)21
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This statistic is based on a survey and provides a portrait of an average physician in the United States, as of 2016. As of that year, the average physician worked about 53 hours per week and 49 percent would not recommend medicine as a career. The Healthcare Reform in the United States under the ACA will continue to alter the medical industry, leading to increased usage of digital health and changing the medical profession.
Physicians in the U.S.

The characteristics defining a U.S. physician may vary greatly across the country. About 58 percent are employed at a hospital or with a medical group, while about 33 percent are employed at a private practice. Physician compensation can also vary widely based on medical specialty. Those in orthopedics earn about 443,000 U.S. dollars annually, while a physician in critical care earns about 306,000 U.S. dollars per year. As of 2016, California had the largest number of active specialist physicians, totaling 52,815 physicians.

About 49 percent of physicians would not recommend medicine as a career, where about 54 percent state that morale is very or somewhat negative due to stressors. About 45.4 percent of physicians in the country have stated that they have experienced burnout as of 2012. There has been an increased number of stressors such as the lack of a single payer system that has contributed to extensive insurance paper work and a decrease in independence for many physicians as hospitals purchase more private practices. There is also concern among some doctors based on their compensation under healthcare reform in the United States. Many, about 81 percent, also state that their workload is at their capacity or even overextended. Only about 13 percent of physicians spend 25 minutes or more with their patients.
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Release date
September 2016
Region
United States
Survey time period
April to June 2016
Number of respondents
17,236 physicians
Method of interview
Online survey
Supplementary notes
Figures have been rounded.
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