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The laws of supply and demand, new technologies, as well as demographic changes in the nation’s population, influence the demand for many occupations. These same factors impact the demand for specific physician specialties in the United States.

For example, the Association of American Medical College (AAMC) list over 120 medical specialties and subspecialties. Similarly, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) has 24 specialty medical boards with 40 specialties and 87 subspecialties.

The topic of what physician specialties are the most in demand is sometimes a little subjective. It depends on what metric is used to generate the most in-demand medical specialties. This means that not every top 10 most in-demand medical specialty list is the same.

According to Doximity, as of December 2018, the number one most common and in-demand medical specialty for doctors was family medicine. The social networking for clinicians based the results on the number of open physician jobs from 2017 to 2018. This sample list was pulled from a total of roughly 8,000 posted job openings. Here is Doximity’s top 10 medical specialties ranked from most to least demand are as follows:

1. Family medicine

2. Internal medicine

3 Emergency medicine

4. Psychiatry

5. Obstetrics and gynecology

6. Neurology

7. Radiology

8. Gastroenterology

9. Geriatrics

10. Pediatrics

Doximity predicts that by 2026, physician and surgical roles are projected to grow at a rate of 13 percent. This is faster than the average growth rate for other occupations. In this economic climate, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) projects that overall health spending will grow faster than Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per year from 2017 to 2026, making up 19.7 percent of GDP by 2026.

Interestingly, arguments that new healthcare technology innovations will reduce clinical employment is not supported by any of Doximity’s data. The increased demand and advancement of artificial intelligence and machine learning will likely create new physician specialties.

Other medical industry companies have created similar top lists, but their lists of specialties are slightly different. The physician recruiting company Merritt Hawkins has a similar list to Doximity. But their top 10 list of the most in-demand medical specialties include nurse practitioner, hospitalist, urgent care and orthopedic surgery. The specialties of emergency medicine, neurology, geriatrics and pediatrics have been excluded.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has listed the 5 most in-demand medical specialties, but they generate their list from Merritt Hawkins data. A recent AMA list for the most in-demand medical specialties in order of most in demand are:

  1. Family medicine
  2. Psychiatry
  3. Internal medicine
  4. Radiology
  5. Obstetrics and gynecology

Whichever list is followed, some clear trends are evident. The aging of the U. S. population, sometimes called the Graying of America, will expand the need for more physicians and other health professionals.

On a side note, from 2017 to 2018, job postings and medical compensation grew significantly in many of the largest U. S. metropolitan areas. Inversely, smaller towns and rural areas will likely experience a shortage of medical doctors and other healthcare professionals.

As a company that provides revenue cycle management for a number of different medical specialties, we monitor the topic of physician/medical specialties. For additional questions about this topic or medical billing in general, please contact the staff at ABCS RCM.

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Physician Specialties, Most In Demand, Medical Specialties