Physician income declined in general, although the top-earning specialties remained the same as in Medscape’s 2011 survey. In 2012, radiologists and orthopedic surgeons topped the list at $315,000, followed by cardiologists ($314,000), anesthesiologists ($309,000), and urologists ($309,000). Previously, radiologists and orthopedic surgeons led the pack, at a mean income of $350,000 each, followed by anesthesiologists and cardiologists (both at $325,000). The bottom-earning specialties in 2012′s survey were pediatrics, family medicine, and internal medicine ($156,000-$165,00).
Although decreased reimbursement has been the recent buzz-phrase, some specialties saw modest gains, whereas others saw significant declines. The biggest income increases were in ophthalmology (+9%), pediatrics (+5%), nephrology (+4%), rheumatology (+4%), and oncology (+4%). For declines, the largest were in general surgery (-12%), orthopedic surgery (-10%), radiology (-10%), and emergency medicine (-8%).
For employed physicians, compensation includes salary, bonus, and profit-sharing contributions. For partners, compensation includes earnings after tax-deductible business expenses but before income tax. Compensation excludes non-patient-related activities (eg, expert witness fees, speaking engagements, and product sales).
Average time spent with patients
As in Medscape’s 2011 survey, the 13- to 16-minute patient visit is still the most common, especially in the primary care specialties of family medicine and internal medicine. Anesthesiologists (49%), critical care physicians (44%), and neurologists (46%) spend more time with each patient: a mean of 25 minutes or more. A majority of dermatologists (40%), radiologists (8%), ophthalmologists (35%), and emergency physicians (35%) spend the least time — a mean of 9-12 minutes per encounter.
From the Medscape Physician Compensation Report: 2012 results. Total respondents: 24,216 US physicians across 25 specialty areas