The Landscape of Specialties

Written by on May 30, 2014 in Features - No comments

FrontDeskWEBPhysician jobs are on the rise in every region of the United States, but certain regions and specialties are more in demand than others.  The Association of American Medical Colleges has recently reported that by the year 2020, we will have a doctor deficit of almost 100,000 with primary care being the specialty most in demand.

Based on the research of some very insightful Med Monthly writers using statistics provided by the US Government, medical associations across America and statistics reported by several insurance delivery agencies, the following list may enlighten our readers as to the most demanded specialties.

1.  Family medicine (14.9 % increases)
2.  Internal medicine
3.  Geriatric medicine
4.  Pediatrics
5.  Psychiatry (22.4% increase)
6.  Hospitalist (15.8% increase)
7.  Obstetrics and gynecology
8.  General surgery (11.8 % increases)
9.  Pain medicine or algiatry (9.5% increases)

Other specialties that are in demand are; Orthopedic surgery, Dermatology, Neurology, Gastroenterology, Hematology/Oncology and Cardiology.

A specialty that has really increased in demand by most hospitals, veteran hospitals and agencies and private practices is pain management or algiatry practices.  Certainly controversial and looked upon by several state medical boards as ‘high risk’ medicine; pain medicine practices have exploded in the past five or six years.  With our population is getting much older and thousands of soldiers returning from service in pain, many doctors tend to write a prescription as the first option to treatment rather than using invasive techniques.  This is a normal treatment path, but with more patients to treat and a quick fix being as close as the prescription pad, pain management specialists are certainly more in demand and this trend will certainly continue.

Pain management has become sophisticated in recent years offering may types of treatment.  Below you will find a sampling of treatments being offered by several hospitals and clinics throughout the country.

•  Trigger point injections
•  Epidural steroid injections
•  Facet blocks
•  Selective nerve root blocks
•  Blood patch
•  Implanted medication pumps
•  Radiofrequency denervation
•  Cryoablation
•  Disc decompression
•  Spinal cord stimulation
•  Medication management
•  Referrals as appropriate for physical therapy
•  Referrals as appropriate for behavioral pain management including:

Relaxation / Mediation therapy
Smoking cessation
Individual and family counseling

In an interview with Philip Driver, President of Physician Solutions, a regional primary care staffing company headquartered in Raleigh, he states that, “Physician assistants are becoming more and more in demand in most primary care settings.  Especially facilities that are owned by hospitals, state and federal government clinics and practices located in rural settings.  PA’s can certainly keep the delivery cost of medicine down while providing a high, dependable level of health care.  We have noticed a 20% increase in the demand for physician assistants during the past two years alone.  We are also observing a good amount of new nurse practitioners entering the primary care specialty, yet another indicator practice owners are more conscious about health care delivery cost.”

Geographic location becomes a large factor regarding demands on certain specialties.  For instance, dermatologists demand has risen over 25% in the southern states for reasons related to the sun and exposure to the elements, as well as the increase in population. Psychiatrists have risen over 20% in the northern states due to recent hard winters and having to stay inside for long periods of time.

Driver adds that he sees most physician staffing agencies in all regions becoming more in demand as locum tenens positions are popular among doctors relocating and researching opportunities before starting their own practice or joining a group or hospital.  Medicine has always evolved quickly and we should ready ourselves for more changes in health care during the coming years.  More specialized practices are being opened by hospitals and we have more innovative doctors in medicine, dental and optical than ever before.

By Med Monthly Staff Writers

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